The last few years haven’t been great for limited government, though Wisconsin is an exception. After the made-for-MSNBC protests, a failed bid to turn over the state Supreme Court and a failed recall election, Governor Scott Walker’s public union reforms still stand. And now the spurious constitutional challenges have guttered out in federal appeals court.
On Friday a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court upheld the law in its entirety. Two judges rejected the claims of the Wisconsin Education Association Council and six other government unions that Mr. Walker violated the Equal Protection clause and the First Amendment, while a third judge—David Hamilton, nominated by President Obama—concurred in part and dissented in part.
The unions argued that Mr. Walker’s limits on collective bargaining, the requirements that a union be recertified each year by a majority of its members and the elimination of the payroll deduction of dues were illegal because they exempted cops and firefighters. Supposedly this amounts to discrimination by creating two categories of public employees. They also argued that the payroll deduction clause violates the First Amendment.