MILWAUKEE — The latest ruling on Act 10, a law championed by Governor Scott Walker, has a lot of people saying “now what?”. The budget repair bill, as it is commonly referred to, was a controversial bill that had people in both political parties facing off. Now, after Dane Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas ruled parts of the law unconstitutional, many of those same people are ready to face off again.
When Act 10 was brought to the public’s attention in February 2011, sides were immediately drawn and the passion from both sides was obvious as protesters descended on the state capitol.
After the law passed in March of 2011, the fight continued with the recall of Governor Scott Walker and a number of legislators that culminated with the recall election in June of 2012. However the battle continued in the courts until Colas made his ruling, nearly 6 months after hearing arguments, on Friday afternoon.
Governor Scott Walker reacted immediately after the ruling by releasing a statement saying:
Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the law making responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeal.
The Governor’s statement drew reaction from Lester Pines, an attorney representing Madison teachers. “Was he not politically biased when he ruled in favor of the state in part, but he was politically biased when he didn’t?”
“That’s the problem with attacking judges,” Pines added. “The leaders of the Bar Association of this state need to stand up and communicate with Governor Walker, and say that these attacks on the judiciary are enough. Enough is enough.”
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he will appeal the ruling, and try to get a stay in the case. If a stay is given, the law will remain in effect.
Republican State Senator from River Hills, Alberta Darling, says, “I think when we have a hearing at the Supreme Court, that it will reaffirm, like it has in the past, that the law is unconstitutional.”
Pines doesn’t know exactly where this goes next, but he does know this is not over and will continue in the Appellate Court or the Wisconsin Supreme Court. “When the appeals courts and the Supreme Court look at this case, they’re going to look at it very carefully on the law, and not on the basis of what Governor Walker and his acolytes want them to do.”
Attorneys representing municipal unions say the contracts will revert to the way they were back in January 2011 immediately.