UNDATED (WSAU) Political observers said Republicans may have hurt their chances of having Wisconsin’s public union bargaining restrictions upheld in the courts. Marquette professor Rick Esenberg said Friday’s move to have the Legislative Reference Bureau publish the bargaining law may have riled up the public unions and their liberal base just a week before the Supreme Court election.
Professor Esenberg said it could hurt conservative Justice David Prosser in his re-election bid, while helping his opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg. If Prosser loses, the court loses its 4-to-3 conservative majority – presumably making it easier for opponents of the union restrictions to strike them down.
U-W Madison political scientist Howard Schweber wondered if the G-O-P was thinking how the law’s publication would affect Prosser’s re-election chances. Senate G-O-P Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he’s not sure how it would affect Prosser’s fate. But Fitzgerald said he brought up the law’s publication because the Reference Bureau was obligated to publish it when it did.
The Walker administration assumes the law’s in effect. But a circuit judge halted it by telling the secretary-of-state not to have it published – which he didn’t. Judge Maryann Sumi put a temporary restraining order on the law’s adoption until she could decide if lawmakers broke the state Open Meeting Law when they passed it. A hearing on that question begins tomorrow.