Separation of Powers: Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding the Collective Bargaining Law

The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies

Madison, WI Chapter

Separation of Powers: Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding the Collective Bargaining Law

A Panel Discussion Featuring:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jon P. Wilcox (Retired)

Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John

Professor Edward Fallone

Thursday, July 14, 2011 . 11:30 AM– 1:00 PM . Madison Club – Lake Room

$15.00 (Includes lunch) . CLE Pending

 RSVP by Monday, July 11 to:Andrew Cook – or 608.219.4632

About this event: On February 15, 2011, Gov. Scott Walker introduced his controversial budget repair bill. The bill ended collective bargaining for public unions, increased public employees’ contributions to their retirement and health care plans, and removed public unions’ ability to force public employees to pay union dues. After weeks of massive protests and Senate Democrats fleeing the state to prevent a vote on the bill, the bill was passed by the Legislature and became 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (commonly referred to as Act 10). Before the law went into effect, however, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order blocking Act 10’s implementation. Judge Sumi later issued a 33-page decision permanently restraining Act 10 from going into effect. In her decision Judge Sumi ruled that the Wisconsin Legislature violated Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law when it passed Act 10.  On June 14, 2011, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision, Ismael R. Ozanne v. Jeff Fitzgerald/State v. Circuit Court for Dane County, reversing the lower court. In a deeply divided 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Wisconsin Legislature did not violate the Open Meetings Law and that the separation of powers doctrine precludes the judicial branch from interfering with the legislative process.

The Honorable Jon P. Wilcox is a retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1992-2007). Before joining the Supreme Court, Justice Wilcox was a circuit court judge in Waushara County for 13 years, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Administrative District from 1985 to 1992, and chairman of the Wisconsin Committee of Chief Judges. He also served as chairman of the Wisconsin Sentencing Commission from 1987 to 1992. Prior to this, he worked in private practice and started his own law firm. He also served three terms in the Wisconsin Legislature, representing the 72nd Assembly District from 1969 to 1975. He was elected to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress from 1975 to 1980.

Kevin St. John is the Deputy Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin. As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. St. John is the chief operating officer of the Department of Justice. Immediately prior to his appointment as Deputy Attorney General, Mr. St. John served as the Department of Justice’s Special Assistant Attorney General for Public Affairs and Policy. He joined the Department of Justice in that role on January 1, 2007. Prior to his government service Mr. St. John practiced law with the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and the Washington D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. St. John is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago.

Professor Edward Fallone is an associate professor at Marquette University Law School where he teaches Constitutional Law, Immigration Law, Corporate Criminal Liability, and Securities Regulation. Prof. Fallone earned his undergraduate degree from Boston University, summa cum laude, in Spanish Language and Literature. He also earned his law degree from Boston University, magna cum laude. Prof. Fallone has founded and grown three nonprofit organizations serving the underprivileged in southeastern Wisconsin. Prof. Fallone is a regular contributor to the Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog, and has written extensively on the lawsuit challenging Act 10.

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