The Wisconsin Supreme Court just made official what even Wisconsin’s Democrats have already implicitly conceded: Scott Walker’s landmark law strictly limiting collective bargaining rights for public sector unions is constitutional and will stand. The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
The decision was 5-2, with Justice Michael Gableman writing the lead opinion, which found that collective bargaining is not a fundamental right under the constitution but rather a benefit that lawmakers can extend or restrict as they see fit.“No matter the limitations or ‘burdens’ a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect,” Gableman wrote.
Governor Walker, in a tight re-election campaign this year against Democrat Mary Burke, was triumphantly touting the savings made possible by the law—figures that the Journal Sentinel said largely checked out.Walker’s re-election in November is anything but assured given recent polling, but public sector unions around the country locked in similar disputes just let out a collective groan. Reformers in other states have been watching carefully how the drama in Wisconsin played out, and with this Supreme Court ruling, it seems to have reached its end.