Who needs elections when you have judges?
In Wisconsin, the voters have decided to reform their state’s collective bargaining laws. They did so by, 1) electing a governor, Scott Walker, who promised to do just that, 2) electing representatives to the state legislature who approved and passed the governor’s reforms, and 3) ratifying those reform by re-electing Walker in a union-initiated recall election in June 2012.
Case closed, right? Wrong. On Friday, September 14, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas, in his infinite wisdom, struck down Walker’s reform law in response to a legal challenge brought by a union representing Madison teachers and city employees from Milwaukee. Reuters reports:
Colas ruled that eliminating collective bargaining rights for municipal employees including teachers violated the workers’ right to free speech, association and equal protection.
He also ruled that the law’s requirement that Milwaukee city workers make pension contributions violated a home-rule provision in the state constitution.
Translation: “Hey voters, you don’t know what’s good for you!” Fortunately, and unsurprisingly, Colas was available to save the people from this inappropriate exercise of their democracy. Or as the governor put it in a statement:
Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor.
Well, that’s the thing about lawmaking responsibilities — they’re just too important to entrust to your average citizen, the vast majority of whom, after all, did not even go to law school. But the governor’s office has not given up the fight; the Wisconsin attorney general has vowed, according to the Associated Press, that “he will seek court permission to keep enforcing” the state law, pending appeal of Colas’ ruling.
How pathetic. I hope Badger State voters realize that what is happening to them is nothing short of judicial oppression; what else can you call it when duly elected representatives have to seek “permission” from black-robed elites to enforce duly passed laws?
This is not what the Founders intended for us — Article IV, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution says that, “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.” But if Colas succeeds in single-handedly overturning Walker’s collective bargaining law, he will have transformed Wisconsin from a republic into a state where power is welded from on high by an elite few. Aristotle had a name for such a state: