Wrangle over Wisconsin union law will keep courts busy

Patrick Marley:

Gov. Scott Walker’s curbs on collective bargaining were overturned even before they took effect last year, quickly reinstated by the state Supreme Court, scaled back in March by a federal judge and, on Friday, dealt a major blow by a Dane County judge.
Expect nothing but more court decisions in the months ahead as appeals on those last two cases are heard and others are sorted out by the court system.
Defending those cases has cost taxpayers about $675,000 so far, and those expenses will only increase.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Monday he will seek a stay on Tuesday of the latest ruling and will soon appeal the case.
Meanwhile, two challenges to the law are pending in the federal courts. William Conley, a federal judge in the western district of Wisconsin, in March struck down parts of Walker’s law, and his decision will be reviewed Sept. 24 during oral arguments before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. That appeals court could rule before the end of the year.
Conley has yet to rule on a separate case before him that makes arguments similar to the ones that resulted in Friday’s decision by Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas. If Conley sides with the unions, Walker would have to overcome two sets of rulings; if Conley sides with Walker, the unions may have a tougher time defending their position in state court.