MADISON - The fight over the state’s controversial collective bargaining law is now in the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, argued for the state. He urged justices to side with Governor Scott Walker. He argued collective bargaining is a privilege, not a constitutional right.
“I don’t believe the two ships pass in the night,” Van Hollen told the justices. “I believe they collide. The state has the bigger ship and we shall win.”
On the other side, lawyers contend union collective bargaining is a constituionally protected right to assemble. Attorney Lester Pines said the state constitution is an iceberg in Van Hollen’s ship analogy.
“The Titanic was a big ship, too,” Pines told the justices. “One problem for the Titanic was that it ran into an iceberg that was a lot smaller than it was.”
Justices went way over their usual strict oral argument time limits to press both sides.
The controversy that prompted mega protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol in 2011 has now come to this.
Madison special education teacher Peggy Coyne put her name on this case as a plaintiff on the union's behalf.
“It’s kind of popular sport to beat on public school teachers and public education,” Coyne told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray
Legal appeals have blocked the state from fully implementing the law.
“It’s very important to us that when a state law is validly passed that it be implemented as rapidly as possible,” Van Hollen told reporters.
The justices signaled they may act quickly on this case. The state supreme court operates on its own secret timeline.