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Oral Arguments Set for Anti-Union Law

MADISON, Wisc. (CN) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered attorneys to file briefs and scheduled oral arguments for June 6 in the high court's first response to Gov. Scott Walker's request that it address legal challenges to his anti-union budget bill.

Wisconsin's attorney general sued the Dane County judge enjoined publication of the law, and also sued the Dane County District Attorney, who'd sued the state.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne claimed the Legislature's Republican majority violated Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law when it Joint Committee of Conference passed the bill without providing sufficient notice or public access.

A notice was posted less than two hours before the meeting, which was held in the small Senate Parlor, and the bill was pushed through without a quorum, then published in defiance Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi's order.

Sumi reissued her order, and implementation of the bill has been tied up in court for nearly 2 months. Sumi's injunction remains in place.

The bill would strip public employees' unions of collective-bargaining rights for everything but salary, and contains other onerous provisions to make union representation more difficult for public workers

Acting for the governor, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the state Supreme Court to take jurisdiction of the case and dismiss it, stating: "The Wisconsin Constitution clearly does not allow such actions by the judicial branch."

Furor over the law caused Democratic lawmakers to flee the state for 3 weeks, during which Republicans declared that their Budget Repair Bill was not a "fiscal" bill, so it could be passed it without a quorum.

The Supreme Court ordered Dane County to file a response to the Walker administration's petition for supervisory writ by May 18; the administration will have until May 27 to file a response. The memos must not exceed 11,000 words.

The oral arguments are set for 9:45 a.m. on June 6 - D-Day.

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