Van Hollen to ask for stay in union ruling Tuesday

Attorney general calls union ruling 'woefully deficient'
Van Hollen to ask for stay in union ruling Tuesday

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will ask a judge Tuesday to put on hold his decision reinstating collective bargaining rights for school and local government workers.

Van Hollen is seeking the stay while he also appeals the case.

He said not granting a stay of the order could create chaos, with unions attempting to negotiate new deals while the law is not in effect.

Van Hollen called Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas’s decision “woefully legally deficient” and he predicts it will be overturned.

“We believe that (the judge) is wrong in the law. We are ultimately going to appeal that decision,” Van Hollen said. “In this case, we believe there is a strong likelihood of success. We want to move it along as fast as we can. We truly believe that we are very, very solid in the law here.”

Van Hollen said he will take his argument all the way up to the state Supreme Court if need be.

“We think it’s really imperative that the will of the people through the voice of the governor and the legislature be allowed to stand until we have a higher court actually rule on the decision that he has entered,” Van Hollen said.

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Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Friday lashed out at Colas, calling him a “liberal, activist judge.”

Colas was a former public defender and later prosecutor at the state Department of Justice. He was appointed to the bench by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

Van Hollen, a Republican, said in an interview Monday that he didn’t want to comment on Walker’s statements or “go into Colas’ head.” 

Van Hollen said that “legal minds can disagree” on the merits of the ruling.

The Madison teachers union, Madison Teachers Inc., said it plans to defend its legal victory in court.

“Our next step will be to respond to whatever gets filed, wherever it gets filed,” said Tamara Packard, who represents MTI in the case. “If a stay is granted, then we act as though Act 10 is fully in effect.”

At this point, lawyers for other labor groups across Wisconsin are talking over options. But Van Hollen said he expects other unions and their attorneys to jump on board with this ruling in the appeals process or file their own suits soon. 

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