Friday, August 1, 2014

Supreme Sophistry

The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued their decisions on three major cases on Thursday morning.  The cases were about the same sex registry, voter ID and Act 10.  The results weren't anything that we didn't expect, but it did show just how much of a joke that the Supreme Court has become with four of the "justices" being nothing more than sock puppets held up by the dark money special interests.

The small victory that humanity won was that the Supreme Court upheld the same sex registry.  While it was nice to see one decision go according to the Constitution, it's small potatoes considering that the same sex marriage ban was found to be unconstitutional, not only in Wisconsin but in state after state across the country.  I look forward to the day when people realize that bigotry in general isn't a constitutional right.

The Supreme Court also chose to uphold the Voter ID law, even though it has been found to be
unconstitutional in federal court.  The rationale they offered was that it would help prevent the voter fraud that doesn't exist.  Justice Pat Roggensack even rolled out the old rigmarole about needing a picture ID to go traveling, at the bank, etc.  What she failed to understand is that none of the activities she cited are constitutional rights like voting is.  As Justice Shirley Abrahamson correctly pointed out, this is the modern day version of Jim Crow.

Fortunately, because of the federal case, which is under appeal, there is a stay on the law for now.  That said, soon to be former Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has declared that he will use the Supreme Court ruling to try to get that stay lifted in time for November's election.  They must be really afraid that Mary Burke will bring a high turn out, which was supported in the most recent Marquette University poll numbers.

Last, but not least, the conservative faction of the Supreme Court followed their benefactors directions in supporting Act 10, even if they had to ignore entire sections of the case and the Constitution in order to do so.

As Justice Ann Walsh Bradley points out, Act 10 is a textbook case of unconstitutionality:
Bradley writes in the dissent that the majority ignores the plaintiffs’ claim that Act 10 infringes on the constitutional right to organize into a collective bargaining unit, and erroneously focuses on the right to bargain as a collective bargaining unit, and then determines no such right exists.


A constitutional right to organize as a collective bargaining unit is a well-established premise, the “sacredness” of which was stressed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court as early as 1902 and which the U.S. Supreme Court has declared a fundamental right, Bradley writes.

The First Amendment protects not just against prohibition of the right of association, but also from discouraging union membership or association, Bradley writes.

Act 10 discourages organizing by increasing its cost through the added expenses involved in preparing for annual elections and paying a certification fee, Bradley writes. In addition, revenues are reduced by the elimination of fair share agreements requiring members to pay a proportionate share of union costs, and by prohibiting municipalities from taking union dues out of workers’ pay checks, she adds.

“There is no doubt that these provisions act to discourage membership,” Bradley concludes.

Act 10 also creates unconstitutional conditions by barring workers organized under a collective bargaining agreement from negotiating anything other than an increase in base wages up to the amount of inflation, Bradley writes.

“This is the textbook definition of an unconstitutional condition,” she concludes. “By permitting such a statute to stand, the majority greatly dilutes the First Amendment on the right to freedom of association.”
The right wing has been making a big deal out of this, saying that taking billions of dollars out of the economy, losing thousands of experienced workers and a decrease in services is somehow a good thing.

They are also saying that this is the death knell for the unions, which is as fallacious as the the rationale for the Supreme Court's decision.  If I may remind the gentle reader, Wisconsin saw the seventh highest gain in union membership in the nation in 2013.

So while the rulings might be disappointing, they are not surprising.  Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work in fighting to restore our state to the greatness it once had and to return to the progressive standards that we have been known for.


  1. If you don't know how to embed vids (wrong size, immediately playing each time anyone checks back), then you shouldn't do it.

    I am sure very few of your readers want to hear that story over and over again for days on end.

    No one expects you to be a tech wiz, but you've allowed this blog to become just another obnoxious webpage that blares things at me I either have already viewed/heard or simply don't want to listen to.

  2. A troll is a troll they don't care what bridge they are under or what post they attack. They do not want the message out. I always read your posts. You are closer to the source of RW ideology than those of us who live not of Highway 8. Capper…ignore the troll. Continue to serve those who want to stay informed.