At the end of a week of fuss and tea-leaf reading about the Supreme Court’s hearing of oral arguments on Obamacare, a judge in Wisconsin ruled on a similarly contentious state law:
A federal judge on Friday upheld most of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial collective bargaining law, but struck down key parts of it….
The collective bargaining law, also known as Act 10, established a system in which most of the public unions were required to have an “absolute” majority of their members vote every year to recertify — a standard higher than traditionally used. The law also took away some unions’ rights to collect mandatory dues and prevented unions from deducting voluntary dues directly out of employee paychecks.
The measure did, however, exempt almost all public safety unions, such as police and firefighters. This difference led the court on Friday to rule that the state did not have the right to pick and choose among public unions….
…. To critics, the removal of mandatory union fees, along with the call for annual certification (requiring an absolute majority of members for passage) was an attempt to kill unions in Wisconsin.
As Eric Kleefeld notes for TPM, Judge William M. Conley–appointed by Obama in 2009–specifically cited the apparent political favoritism the law showed for unions that backed Walker in his 2010 election (which, he said, “enhances the ability of unions representing public safety employees to continue to support this Governor and his party”), while clamping down on unions that didn’t.
Of course, since this was a ruling a Democratic-appointed judge, it wasn’t a one-sided progressive victory; only the most egregiously unfair aspects of Walker’s anti-union law were overturned. Meanwhile, the Republican governor’s PR flack expressed confidence that on appeal (to a court stacked in favor of GOP appointees), they would get better results.
Funny how that works.