A Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked the state's new law ending collective bargaining for most public employees, the AP reports. The order was issued by Judge Maryann Sumi after the state's Democratic District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed a lawsuit saying the Republicans who passed the law broke Wisconsin's open meetings law.
"It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the (law)," wrote the judge.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law last week amid protests from thousands of demonstrators who flooded the state Capitol over the past month. "The judge's order is a major setback for Walker and puts the future of the law in question," notes the AP.
Walker promoted the bill as a means to help fix Wisconsin's $137 million budget shortfall. Democrats, meanwhile, argued that banning collective bargaining would hinder public employees' ability to earn fair wages and health benefits.
At the moment, Republicans are remaining quiet. "It’s an ongoing legal issue, and we can’t comment on it," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo says the order won't necessarily prevent the law from being implemented in the weeks ahead.
"A key thing to note here is that this is a procedural objection, and not a constitutional finding based on the content of the law itself," he writes. "As such, even if the bill's opponents secure a permanent injunction in further litigation -- and then prevail in any appeals to higher courts -- the Republican-controlled Legislature could still theoretically get together and pass the bill again. But of course, that would involve having the legislature convene again, protesters swarming the Capitol again, and a very tough vote occurring in a rerun."
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air doesn't think such a scenario is out of the question.
"I’d expect the legislature to take that up very quickly," he writes. "I’d also expect some of the protesters to return in anticipation of that effort, although most of them probably won’t get away with taking more sick time to do so. Walker and the GOP could render this issue moot by Monday or Tuesday of next week, if need be."
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