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I haven't been able to talk about this until today.  Until my mind cleared, I got more information, and mourned what Scott Walker and his GOP legislative majority did and a Republican dominated Appeals Court has now ruled legal.

A federal court of appeals on Friday upheld Wisconsin's law repealing most collective bargaining for most public employees, handing a victory to Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans who put the law in place amid tumult two years ago.

Parts of the collective bargaining law, known as Act 10, remain on hold because of a state judge's ruling in a separate case, but Friday's decision was a setback for public employees and their unions.

Last year, U.S. District Judge William M. Conley largely upheld the legislation but struck down parts of Act 10 dealing with prohibitions on government employers withholding union dues from workers' paychecks as well as a section requiring labor unions to vote to recertify yearly. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed that lower court's ruling in a split decision Friday that upheld the law in its entirety.

Just a reminder on what Act 10 did.  It virtually ended collective bargaining rights for public employees by prohibiting the collection of union dues by the employer like other paycheck withholdings are done, prohibited collective bargaining for anything but wages (with a maximum limit set by the State of Wisconsin - i.e. Scott Walkers cronies), and mandated that unions hold a recertification election annually (the same kind of election that's held when a workplace decides it wants a union in the first place), and mandated that 18% of  a public employees paycheck be withheld to pay for pension and health insurance.   In a nutshell, it prohibited unions from negotiation working conditions, benefits, safety issues or anything relevant to an employee outside of wages, made them go to each individual member to collect dues (a guarentee that they'd not be able to collect sufficient funds to continue to operate), forced them to hold an expensive and unnecessary certification vote every year, and took 18% of their paychecks.  Act 10 also prohibited towns, citites, and counties from raising property taxes to make up the differences between the vastly redued state revenue sharing and their current property tax collections (they were forced to strip more wages and benefits from their workers, lay off large numbers of their employees, or massively cut public services).

Additionally, it exempted those unions that endorsed Scott Walker (namely the fire and police unions) from any of Act 10s provisions.  Of course Scott Walker claimed that they were exempted because of "safety concerns", however, the Capitol Police and prison guards were not included in the exemption.  We know exactly why Walker exempted them.

The worst part of the ruling was that the dismissed the most relevant issues.

The unions sued in federal court in Madison, arguing the law violated the free-speech and equal-protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Conley upheld much of Act 10, but invalidated the provisions on recertification and dues deduction.

Both sides appealed the decision, and on Friday the court said the entire law was constitutional.

"Act 10 places no limitations on the speech of general employee unions, which may continue speaking on any topic or subject. . . . Act 10 simply subsidizes the speech of one group, while refraining from doing so for another," the decision said.

The majority opinion noted the political ramifications of the law, pointing out just five public-sector unions endorsed Walker when he ran for governor in 2010 - those representing state troopers, deputy sheriffs around the state, Milwaukee police officers, Milwaukee firefighters and West Allis police officers. Members of those unions were exempted from most Act 10 provisions, while other public workers were not, including some in law enforcement, such as Capitol Police and officers on University of Wisconsin campuses.

The court also included in its decision comments by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), who said just before the law passed, "If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you're going to find is President Obama is going to have a . . . much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin."

The court responded: "While Senator Fitzgerald's statement may not reflect the highest of intentions, his sentiments do not invalidate an otherwise constitutional, viewpoint-neutral law."

The court also said it would not second-guess which unions the Legislature decided to exclude from their limits on collective bargaining. Lawmakers said they left public safety workers largely alone because if they went on strike it would endanger the public. Among the public safety workers who were excluded from the measure were motor vehicle inspectors, who belong to the same union as state troopers.

"We cannot, as the unions request, determine precisely which occupations would jeopardize public safety with a strike," the court wrote. "Even if we accept that Wisconsin imprudently characterized motor vehicle inspectors as public safety employees or the Capitol Police as general employees, invalidating the legislation on that group would elevate the judiciary to the impermissible role of supra-legislature."

We know that Act 10 was never about repairing the state budget.  It was all about getting rid of unions - something Scott Walker promised his billionaire donor Diane Hendricks in the 2012 documentary As Goes Janesville (thanks DownstateDemocrat for the title correction).  In the film Walker bragged that he'd "get rid of those unions" by using a "divide and conquer" tactic.   Unions, however, aren't stupid and saw what Walker was doing.  Public employees were joined in the massive protests of 2011 by private sector union members along with members of the public and family farmers.

We've also seen how compliant our courts have become towards the Republican agenda.  We saw last year how the GOPs secretly conducted and rammed through redistricting gerrymandered our state to the point that Democrats, who received an much higher vote total in the 2012 election, represent only a small fraction of our state legislative and Crongressional seats.  Despite the fact that several court orders had to be issued to obtain documents about the secret gerrymandering (and seeing the bombshell documents that Republicans reluctantly coughed up after a heavy fine) the courts allowed the GOP to keep all of their heavily gerrymandered districts which crowded Democratic voters into as few districts as possible.  The only change made by the courts was the demand that a district drawn to dilute Hispanic voters between 2 districts be altered.

Scott Walker, his GOP allies, and monied interest donors are celebrating this weekend.  Public employees, their unions, and their attorneys are looking over the case and the ruling to see what can possibly be done.  One possibility would be to have the entire Appeals Court review the case rather than the 3 judge panel (Joel M. Flaum, author of the majority opinion and Reagan appointee, William J. Bauer a Gerald Ford appointee, and David F. Hamilton, dissenter and an appointee of President Bill Clinton).

Whatever is done, it's clear that Republican court-packing, a decades long component of Republican administrations, has reared its very ugly head.  When courts operate to legitimize political agendas and vendettas, there are few obstacles to radical takeovers of state, local and federal governments and the extremist idelogies that quickly become "law'.

Additionally, gerrymandering ensures that the evil keeps on coming despite the will of the voters.  And what we've seen in the Red Tide states of 2010 will be with us for a long, long time as gerrymandered districts keep one political party in control in perpetuity.

It ain't pretty here in FitzWalkerStan.


Originally posted to Puddytat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Badger State Progressive, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Aren't there other suits still pending? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, Eric Nelson, Sark Svemes

    From what I've read, Act 10 isn't fully settled yet.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:52:55 AM PST

  •  As Goes Janesville was the documentary... (4+ / 0-)

    ...that featured the Walker/Hendricks chit chat.

    Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:16:51 PM PST

  •  Bill of Rights (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, Sark Svemes

    It called the "Bill of Rights" that is the bases for enabling Union membership.

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    After the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment enforced the Bill of Rights onto the states to enforce and applicable to state laws and constitutions.
    Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

    Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

    Section 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    It is time to take on the GOP based on the U.S. Constitution and this weak ass policy of asking the GOP stacked court system to rule on laws they cook. We need to stop with this "Mother may I" crap.

    Arrest the GOP crimals, put them on trial.

    Hey if they are commenting treason, then by GOD execute the bastards:

    Article III.

    Section. 1.

    The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

    Section. 2.

    The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

    Section. 3.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    It is time to remove the stink of the GOP from our Government.
  •  Ron Kind rumored to be considering Gov run (4+ / 0-)

    He's publicly called for Walker to take the Medicaid expansion money for Wisconsin, and, usually, a Federal official, such as Kind, doesn't say anything on state matters unless they're interested in a run for a state executive post.

    Kind would need a clown car to win a statewide Democratic primary, as, while he's vocally supported Obama's gun control recommendations, he's taken money from the NRA and supported an NRA-backed witchhunt against Eric Holder, also, he's voted for free-trade agreements that have resulted in American jobs being shipped overseas. Kind, if he goes through with a gubernatorial bid, will NOT clear the Democratic primary field for Governor of Wisconsin, I can say that for sure.

    Additionally, in the comments section of this blog post by Chris Liebenthal of Cognitive Dissidence, Gareth (presumably his first name, no last name given) said this about the John Doe probe, as well as the Attorney General's race:

    The buzz inside the Capitol is that Walker is definitely operating on borrowed time. Governor Kleefisch: get used to it. Van Hollen already seems to be in campaign mode.
    While Walker "being on borrowed time" is merely high-grade rumor at this point, Walker has a criminal defense fund, has NOT been cleared of wrongdoing, and has NOT been granted immunity in the John Doe probe. In regards to AG J.B. Van Hollen being already in campaign mode, that's probably true, and four potential Democratic candidates who may consider a run against Van Hollen include Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm, Milwaukee County Assistant DA Bruce Landgraf, former State Senator Jessica King, and Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.

    Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:00:27 PM PST

    •  I'm hoping that there will be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, Eric Nelson, Sark Svemes

      only one candidate for Governor on the Dem side in 2014 as there was only one for the US Senate Seat this year.  It would enable the candidate to spend all their money statewide, like Tammy Baldwin did to get the name recognition she needed, and would avoid a bruising primary fight.  Having the primary in the recall election diluted funds and limited (to 4 weeks) the actual campaigning against Walker - a detriment IMHO.

      The Wisconsin Democratic Party, however, is getting going right now for the 2014 elections by placing organizing staff all around the state - a really good thing.  I'm hoping the voice of Sly, who will now be heard across northwesterns Illinois and dentral and southwestern Wisconsin will be a good counter to the active RW disinformation that those folks have been exposed to.

      As for the John Doe, I love the rumors and certainly feel a lot of anticipation, but never diary on them no matter what the source or how reputable they are.  A good example is that I was told by a high placed person (who would be in a position to know) this summer that a Walker indictment was a mere couple of weeks away.  I never said a thing here about that.  

      As we know, there was no indictment forthcoming, but both the Milwaukee and federal John Does are still ongoing.

      We can only live and hope that the full extent of Walkers role as the head of a political criminal empire will be exposed and adjudicated.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:19:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And Peter Barca (6+ / 0-)

      Assembly Democratic leader is also interested in running I hear.  

      Wisconsin, Forward!

      by astroguy on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:25:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's been a draft movement... (5+ / 0-) convince Barca to run for Governor in 2014. In a hypothetical Barca-Kind primary, Barca, due to being seen more favorably by the statewide Democratic primary electorate in Wisconsin as well as being more "in the loop" in regards to state matters, would be strongly favored to win the Democratic nomination to the point that Kind would be better off to bail out of the race altogether.

        Waukesha progressive blogger Lisa Mux wrote about the "Draft Barca" movement on her blog.

        Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

        by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:34:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting. I like Peter Barca but... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DownstateDemocrat, Puddytat, exterris

 gut tells me that Kind is who the WI Dem Party would be more comfortable with based on the rural-people-dig-guns thing [whether real or imagined].  And he has the rugged good looks going for him and better name recognition and hasn't had a million pictures taken of him raising his fist in the air for unions.  Dems will want to play it safe and Centrist.  Also - I'm curious - you're positive that they won't trot out Barrett one more time?  Logic would say "no they won't".  But it's not garden variety logic at work here.

          •  I've never understood the WI Dems' logic (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Puddytat, non acquiescer, exterris

            If they trot out Barrett for a third time, he'd probably get blown out in the Democratic primary. It would be easy for another Democrat to primary Barrett and label him as a "perennial candidate". Barrett won his first two Democratic gubernatorial primaries with 91% of the vote in 2010 and 58% of the vote in 2012, respectively. That's quite the downward trend.

            Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

            by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:12:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  barca-kind (0+ / 0-)

            I also think that Kind is preferred candidate.  I like that state dems are putting resources in western and northern Wisconsin.  I hope that it helps in the Supreme Court race this April.  Do you believe that Kind could rack up nice margins in La Crosse, Eau Claire, and the rest of Western Wisconsin?  Not that familiar with that part of the state.  Milwaukee and Madison are good for at least a net of 200,000 votes.  Would Barca net more votes from Kenosha County than Kind from Western Wisconsin?  Barrett is a non-factor- he will not run again.

            •  Western WI will vote for Kind, but "charismatic" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              is not a word I would use to describe his campaign style.  I am not sure he can "out-rhetoric" lying-lips Walker.  

              Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

              by ranton on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:57:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There's not too many WI Dems who have charisma (0+ / 0-)

                Kind has a bit more charisma than Barrett, but that isn't saying much.

                Also, Scott Walker just waded into sensitive social issues big time...we need someone who is willing to bring up social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, on the campaign trail. The only Wisconsin Democrat I know of who would be willing to bring up social issues on the campaign trail, and be even remotely electable statewide, would be Dane County Supervisor Jenni Dye, and she's not running for governor.

                Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

                by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:24:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  How did the WIS-Dem star-pool get so dismal? (0+ / 0-)

                  Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

                  by ranton on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:51:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I read a comment in the media (7+ / 0-)

    that basically the court said "political punishment of opponents is not illegal".  It's clear that the gerrymandering, the GOP ability to pack courts, and the secret agenda of the Koch/Americans for Prosperity/etc has worked well for them.  I am angry beyond words.

    Wisconsin: It's war, you know. We didn't start it, but we'll keep fighting in it until we win

    by isewquilts2 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:54:04 PM PST

    •  I'm "angry beyond words" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, Eric Nelson, Sark Svemes, ranton

      right along with you.  I read that same statement you referenced about "punishment of opponents is not illegal".  The decision reached by the appeals court is couched in very slanted language and certainly does not reflect well at all on those who wrote it.  It seemed about as "in your face" as it could be.  I am sick at heart.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:36:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I grabbed that quote, too (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, Eric Nelson, Sark Svemes, ranton

        for the diary.  It's beyond troubling, particularly in light of the GOP favorable gerrymandering ruling in the courts.  Despite knowing they secretly redistricted, didn't allow anyone to have input, rushed it through without discussion, and then told the court to go pound sand when they refused to cough up the documents regarding the gerrymandering, the court rewarded their sleaze by allowing them to keep 99% of their loot.


        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:58:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for writing about this, Puddy. (5+ / 0-)

    I read the news about it Friday evening and just put it aside because it was too sickening to even think about for me too.  I am certainly not a lawyer, but one thing I still don't understand is how the appeals court gave its approval of disparate treatment of public employee unions.  The exemptions from the ACT 10 law that the Republicans gave to certain unions and not to others seems bizarre to me and yet the court said that was "OK".  Where is the justice or fairness in that?!  The words of the decision were so biased it would be laughable and like something one would read in The Onion except for the fact that there are real people who are being deliberately harmed and not treated fairly because of ACT 10.  The malice in both those who wrote and passed ACT10 as well as the judges who wrote this decision is palpable and deeply sickening.  

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:49:28 PM PST

    •  There's no right at stake and none of the employee (4+ / 0-)

      unions are protected classes, so the law just has to be not-insane.  under that extremely low threshold, a legislature could reasonably judge that job security for some positions is more important than that for others.

    •  I couldn't talk about it until today (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, Sark Svemes

      and even today I had to force myself to.

      The only saving grace is that most public employee unions outside of the state workers immediately filed for contract negotiations during the period when the previous ruling was in effect.  Therefore, for the duration of those "new" contracts, they have union rules about vacation, time off, shift selection, working conditions, and safety.  After that, they'll have nothing.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 03:01:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Governor Feingold???? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    progressivevoice, Puddytat, exterris

    I really want a progressive champion. Is there any chance the senator gets off the sidelines and back in the game?

    I don't hit. But I do hit back

    by mcgee85 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 05:12:45 PM PST

  •  BREAKING: Biz group to testify against mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unrelated story, but This is HUGE, to put it mildly:

    Working on testimony for the mining hearing this Wednesday! As supporters of safe and sensible mining, we've found serious flaws in this bill.
    Someone from the Wisconsin Business Alliance, more than likely Lori Compas, the executive director of, and lobbyist for, the WBA, and the Democratic nominee against State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald in the 2012 recalls, is going to testify against the proposed open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills!

    Remember the LAST time Lori Compas gave testimony? It was to the GAB over the fake Democrats that the WI GOP planted in the recall primaries:

    Judging by some of the WBA's other posts on their Facebook page, it's quite possible that they may bring up potential negative impacts to the tourism industry in Northern Wisconsin caused by mining-related pollution.

    Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

    by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 12:19:31 PM PST

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