On the record: Reaction to the Wisconsin Supreme Court rulings…

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. - PHOTO: Courtesy

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on July 31 issued rulings upholding Act 10 and the voter ID law, both signed in 2011, and the state domestic partnership registry, signed into law in 2009.

The following are reactions to the high court's rulings:

Act 10…

"Act 10 has saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion.  Today’s ruling is a victory for those hard-working taxpayers," said Gov. Scott Walker.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said, “In Dane County we believe in working together with our employees and it has been successful for many years, before and after the passage of Act 10. That is why after the state passed Act 10 we created an employee handbook and have continued to negotiate labor agreements in good faith with our workers. It has worked for us – providing services and saving taxpayer money.

“In the wake of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s disappointing ruling today we will be consulting with our labor attorney and carefully evaluating the language of the decision and our legal options moving forward.”

Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews said the court's decision "reversed 50-plus years of legislation, which enabled public employers and employee groups to work together to make workplaces not only more productive but safer."

Voter ID …

“Our job as public officials should be to insure that everyone who is eligible to vote is able to participate in this most basic and vital civic duty," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Voter ID laws do just the opposite, particularly the Wisconsin law that has been cited as among the most burdensome voter laws in the country. Voting is a fundamental constitutional right and the law creates barriers to voting that disproportionally impact senior citizens, college students, minorities and people living in poverty.”

"Voter ID is critical to ensuring integrity in our electoral process, and I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation. Now that the state Supreme Court has found Voter ID constitutional, I am hopeful that the federal appeals court will agree with what we already know — there is nothing wrong with requiring someone to show an ID before they vote," said Van Wanggaard, who is running for the state Senate. He was recalled from his state.

"Voter ID is a common sense reform that protects the integrity of our elections.  People need to have confidence in our electoral process and to know their vote has been properly counted.  We look forward to the same result from the federal court of appeals," said Gov. Scott Walker.

“This ruling is an important victory for all of those who legally cast a ballot each election day,” said state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R. “Now that the State Supreme Court has affirmed this law, I look forward to the 7th Circuit Court’s ruling so that this important reform can take effect.” 

In a joint statement, Voces de la Frontera and the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP said: "Today the majority of the State Supreme Court has betrayed their duty to protect the constitutional right to vote for Wisconsin's most vulnerable citizens.  It has been said many times that this is a most fundamental right, a sacred right, guaranteed and protected by not only the 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution, but also by Article 3, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution.

"We all know the reasons to enact this law, given by its proponents, do not hold water.  We are grateful and comforted by the fact that Judge Adelman found this ugly tactic of voter suppression to be unconstitutional in the federal case, and that decision must be cherished.

"Today's decision veers from the Wisconsin tradition of protecting voting rights, and it is a clear case of defending a law that is designed to suppress the rights of hundreds of thousands of minority and low-income voters, elderly and disabled persons and students.

"Folks like Joel Torres, a Milwaukee man who was unemployed and had to take several days to secure the necessary documentation to vote and seek support of his family to advocate on his behalf. And Joel is  not alone. Nearly 300,000 other qualified voters will be potentially affected if this law were to be implemented.

"It is especially tragic and ironic that this decision was made on the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement's 'Freedom Summer,' which fought so hard to defend voting rights for African-Americans.

"We encourage all to make every effort to vote in the upcoming elections on August 12th and November 4th, and we thank our partners, plaintiffs and witnesses, and our legal team."

Domestic partner registry …

“We’re thrilled that Wisconsin same-sex couples can keep the limited but very important protections that the domestic partnership registry grants them,” said Christopher Clark, counsel for Lambda Legal. “The statute is clearly constitutional, and the Supreme Court of Wisconsin agreed with us. Gay and lesbian couples in Wisconsin no longer have to fear that the protections they have will be taken away by unnecessary anti-gay legal action.

“The Wisconsin State Legislature created the domestic partnership registry in accordance with the laws of the state, and we’re glad that we can finally move on from this long and unnecessary battle. We’re happy for the thousands of same-sex couples in Wisconsin that need the domestic partnership registry to protect themselves and their families.” said Katie Belanger, president and CEO of Fair Wisconsin. “Wisconsin’s gay and lesbian couples can now rest a little easier, and we’re thankful for that. We must now continue to focus our attention on securing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Wisconsin.”

“The ACLU of Wisconsin feels that this is an important case because while domestic partnership protections don’t provide the same security as marriage, they do provide a lifeline for same-sex couples and their families in times of crisis. This lawsuit was nothing more than a mean-spirited and uncalled for attack on families who just want to be able to provide for each other,” said Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said, “The Court’s unanimous decision upholding the domestic partner registry is another sign that intolerance and bias against same-sex couples have lost ground.  This bodes well for the ACLU’s federal court challenge to the Wisconsin ban on same-sex marriage.”

“While we are disappointed that the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not agree with us, what’s important is that marriage remains between one man and one woman in Wisconsin and that even in this ruling, the court recognized that marriage is unique and nothing like relationships formed by same-sex couples,” said Julaine Appling, one of the plaintiffs in the case and president of the right-wing Wisconsin Family Action.

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