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In an order released today, the District IV Court of Appeals denied the State’s request to stay the order of Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas declaring the major parts of Act 10 to be unconstitutional. WILL, in cooperation with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of public employees who support Act 10, has filed amicus briefs in support of Act 10.
The court of appeals’ decision essentially rests on the reasonableness of the circuit court’s decision not to grant a stay, rather than deciding for itself whether a stay was warranted. The court of appeals was somewhat critical of the State’s arguments, noting multiple instances where the State had failed to make a particular argument or develop an argument more fully. Given those weaknesses, the court of appeals concluded, the circuit court’s denial was reasonable.
The court of appeals did, however, confirm what WILL has been saying all along: that the Dane County Circuit Court’s decision does not have statewide effect. “[T]he [unions] argue that the circuit court’s decision here is binding statewide. But we reject out of hand the proposition that the circuit court’s decision has the same effect as a published opinion of this court or the supreme court” (emphasis in original). The court of appeals went on to note that in a lawsuit brought in another county, the judge there would have the discretion to reach the same conclusion as Judge Colas, tacitly admitting that such a court could also reach the opposite conclusion.