In what amounts to either a stunning misunderstanding about how the judicial system works in the United States or a calculated ploy to try to undermine a legitimate court ruling, labor relations officials in Gov. Scott Walker's (R) administration in Wisconsin attempted to limit a ruling that rebuffed Walker's attack on the collective bargaining rights of school district and municipal workers to only two cities. Officials at the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) argued that Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas' 2012 ruling applied only to public workers in Milwaukee and teachers in Madison, since those were the original litigants.
Colas said "no" and held WERC in contempt of court for enforcing parts of the law that he previously found unconstitutional. After the previous ruling, Walker and his administration immediately sought to limit the scope of the judge's decision to Milwaukee and Madison and began enforcing it elsewhere. Colas has now issued an injunction against WERC, and hundreds of school district and municipal worker unions will be allowed to negotiate with their employers, something that had been forbidden in most cases under Walker's law.
Colas said, “I think this conduct was nothing more than an attempt to elude the application of a judgment the commissioners knew full well applied,” reported Politico.
Walker's attorneys have appealed the original case and the state Supreme Court has agreed to hear it.
Lawyers for the six unions that filed the original lawsuit agreed with the judge's ruling, arguing that the ruling can't be applied to some people and not others:
“The defendants ignored you…and that cannot stand,” Lester Pines, an attorney who represents the Madison teachers as well as the Kenosha Education Association, said to Colas during the hearing before he made his ruling. “If they do not respect the rulings of the court, the rule of law is meaningless.”