The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Gov. Scott Walker’s signature labor legislation Thursday, delivering an election-year affirmation to the governor in just one of the three major rulings issued by the state’s top court.
After more than three years of litigation, the court’s seven justices on Thursday put to rest the last of the major legal disputes over Act 10, the 2011 law repealing most union bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin.
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.