Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds anti-union law

MADISON, Wis (Reuters) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a controversial measure curbing the the collective bargaining rights of public workers can go into effect.

The high court overturned a lower court ruling that Republican lawmakers had violated the state’s open meetings law when they passed the measure in March after .

The law, which eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers and requires them to pay more for pensions and health coverage, prompted a national debate over unions.

It was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker in March despite the largest public protests in Madison since the Vietnam War.

In May, a circuit court judge hearing one of several challenges against the measure voided it on a technicality, siding with opponents who argued that Republican lawmakers failed to give proper notice of meetings related to its passage, violating the Wisconsin’s strict open meetings law.

But in its ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the circuit court judge had overstepped her authority and violated the separation of powers in the state constitution.

The court said “one of the courts that we are charged with overseeing has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature … exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers … and erred in the enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.”