Van Hollen files appeal of judge’s union ruling

AG wants ruling put on hold during appeal process
Van Hollen files appeal of judge’s union ruling

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has filed an appeal of a judge’s ruling repealing major parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers.

Van Hollen is also asking Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas to put his ruling on hold while the appeal is pending.

In a motion filed Tuesday morning, Van Hollen said a stay of the ruling is needed to avoid confusion and to “avoid other harm that might result if local governments are not able to take full advantage of Act 10 while an appeal is pending.”

“It makes no sense to force a return to a broken system before the appellate process is completed,” Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen’s Department of Justice is representing Gov. Scott Walker in the case that was brought by the Madison teachers union and a union representing city of Milwaukee workers.

The ruling repealed the law for school and local government workers, allowing them to collectively bargain again after the law prohibited it except for wage increases no greater than inflation.

Lester Pines, the attorney representing the Madison teachers union, is opposing the stay, saying there is no reason for the judge to issue it.

It’s not clear when Colas could make a decision.

If the ruling is not put on hold, it could open the door to unions negotiating new contracts with employers while the legal fight continues.

Both sides have said they are struggling to understand the ramifications of the ruling that came down late Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Pines is challenging Van Hollen over comments Walker made critical of the judge in the case.

Pines sent Van Hollen a letter Tuesday asking him to clarify whether he accepts the authority of Colas to preside over the case given that Walker had called him a “liberal activist judge” who “imposed his personal political beliefs on all of us.”

Pines said it is unacceptable for Van Hollen to say nothing while his client, Walker, accuses a judge of bias and prejudice.

Van Hollen told The Associated Press in an interview on Monday that he didn’t want to comment on Walker’s statements or “go into Colas’ head.”