Friday, July 5, 2024

Wisconsin's Very Special And Meaningful Independence Day


As the gentle reader already knows, Thursday was the Fourth of July, Independence Day.  It's the day the country sets aside to celebrate the birth of our country with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

However, in Wisconsin, the party started a little earlier.  

On Wednesday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Frost ordered that Wisconsin workers are once again free and independent, when he found that Act 10, Scott Walker's attack on public sector workers and their unions, was unconstitutional, which is something that we had been saying all along:

The lawsuit argues the 2011 law violates equal protection guarantees in the Wisconsin Constitution by dividing public employees into two classes: "general" and "public safety" employees. Public safety employees are exempt from the collective bargaining limitations imposed on "general" public employees.

"Rational basis review provides a simple premise. Can you explain a law’s differing treatment of different groups in a way that makes sense and supports a public policy? If not, the different treatment is irrational and violates the right to equal protection of the laws. Because nobody could provide this Court an explanation that reasonably showed why municipal police and fire and State Troopers are considered public safety employees, but Capitol Police, UW Police and conservation wardens, who have the same authority and do the same work, are not," Frost wrote in his ruling.

"Thus, Capitol Police, UW Police, and conservation wardens are treated unequally with no rational basis for that difference. Act 10 therefore violates their rights to equal protection under the law and I declare those provisions of the Act relating to collective bargaining modifications unconstitutional and void."

The Republicans were besides themselves, accusing Frost of being an "activist judge," and complaining how it was held up by the Supreme Court through several challenges.  What they forget to mention is that those supreme court justices who went along with it were beneficiaries of the same dark money groups that the other Republicans were and were just as corrupt. 

Exactly what parts of Act 10 are going to be struck down is yet to be seen yet.  Judge Frost has ordered both parties to submit letters to address this:

Frost concluded his order with this: "As my decision appears to resolve all issues, I order the parties to file a letter or memorandum to the Court as to whether the Court should issue judgment on the pleadings in light of this Decision or take some other action to bring this action to a final judgment. As part of that discussion, Plaintiffs should address what sections of Act 10 must be severed and struck under my ruling and Defendants shall respond on this issue as well."

No matter what the end result, the biggest thing is that it opens the door to better things, including people being able to go to work and knowing that they will be going home again, unlike the way they are now.

To make things even sweeter, it means the end of Walker's legacy and probably the end of any further political aspirations he might have had.