By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel -
Madison — The state Court of Appeals said Monday it intends to decide within a week whether to stay a ruling that found Gov. Scott Walker's labor commissioners in contempt of court.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Friday asked the court to rule in the commissioners' favor by Tuesday so the commissioners could begin union certification elections by this Friday, as it had planned.
The Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals said that was too fast and the unions involved in the case deserved a chance to weigh in. It ordered the unions to file a response by Wednesday and said it planned to issue a decision by Nov. 4.
Monday's order was the latest development in the ongoing legal fight over Act 10, the 2011 law by Gov. Scott Walker that greatly restricted the ability of public workers to engage in union activities.
If the court rules by Nov. 4 for the commissioners, the union elections would start later than planned but would be completed by Dec. 1. If it rules against the commissioners, the unions would be allowed to remain in place indefinitely without having to hold annual certification elections.
The court noted, however, that its plans could change depending on what the state Supreme Court does. In addition to filing his request with the Court of Appeals, Van Hollen on Friday also asked the Supreme Court to stay the case.
Dane County Judge Juan Colás last year found Act 10 was unconstitutional for teachers and local government workers, saying it violated their guarantee of equal protection under the law and infringed on their freedom-of-association rights.
Last week, he found Walker's two labor commissioners in contempt of court because they had not abided by his earlier ruling.
The judges hearing the case on the Court of Appeals are Brian Blanchard, Paul Higginbotham and Paul Lundsten.