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“It will affect all of us:” Wisconsin Supreme Court to release decisions on three major cases Thursday

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MADISON (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court will release decisions in three major cases on Thursday, July 31st in what promises to be an historic day in state history. Ahead of those decisions, a former Supreme Court Justice weighs in.

They're three issues that have dominated the public discourse for three years in Wisconsin: labor rights, voting rights and marriage rights.

On Thursday, July 31st, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will issue rulings relating to all three. It promises to be a monumental day in Wisconsin history -- according to former Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske.

"The importance of these three opinios, they're all very serious legal cases, but they're also cases that will impact public policy and politics, and so to have all three in one day, I think is historic," Geske said.

The first case will decide Act 10.

Justices are weighing the legal question: Does Governor Walker's signature law violate union workers' equal protection rights, and their rights to free assembly?

Act 10 is the state law that curtailed collective bargaining rights for union workers and touched off massive political protests and an era of polarization -- eventually leading to the recall of Governor Scott Walker.

"The only case that really is probably the final word is the Act 10 case. As far as I know, there's no other federal actions out there," Geske said.

The next case concerns Voter ID.

Justices are deciding two questions. First -- does the Voter ID Law infringe on some people's right to vote, and secondly, does the Wisconsin Legislature have the power to create a Voter ID requirement?

The case will be affected by what happens on the federal level -- where a judge ruled that the state law violated the United States Constitution.

"That's going to go up on appeal. If ultimately his opinion is upheld, it's not going to matter what the Supreme Court did," Geske said.

The third case will decide the fate of the state's same-sex partnership registry.

The question is: Do same-sex registries, which give gay couples some benefits of marriage, violate Wisconsin's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?

This is also a decision that could be rendered moot by the federal courts.

"Nothing's going to happen immediately until those other cases get decided," Geske said.

Either way, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is set for one of the biggest days in its history.

"It's a big development in the history of the development of law in Wisconsin. However they hold, it will affect all of us in the state," Geske said.

So why would the court reverse all three opinions on the same day?

Experts say the opinions were likely done in June, but over the last month, they've been fine-tuned and edited. It is likely that because these are three of the most complicated cases, they took longer to finish.