July 24, 2014

Supreme Court agrees to hear union law challenge

The state Supreme Court on Friday announced it would directly hear an appeal in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Governor Scott Walker’s controversial law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public employees.

A Dane County circuit judge last fall sided with the unions representing Madison teachers and city of Milwaukee employees that brought the lawsuit. That decision has resulted in widespread confusion though over whether the ruling that blocks portions of the law from being enforced applies to other communities. The appeals court asked the high court in April to take up the case, because of that continued uncertainty.

The Supreme Court previously heard a case challenging how the law was passed, in which the majority sided with the state.

Also on Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the state’s domestic partnership registry. The high court has rejected requests to take up the case twice before, after Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Governor Walker ceased efforts to defend the registry.

Fair Wisconsin is now defending the registry in the lawsuit brought by Wisconsin Family Action, which argues the registry violates a state constitutional ban on gay marriage or the creation of any similar status. A Dane County judge and the appeals court have ruled previously that the registry is constitutional, because it grants only a small portion of the rights married couples enjoy.