Ryan J. Walsh: Attorney General Josh Kaul plays politics with 'right-to-work' law


Opinion Column by Ryan J. Walsh, April 25, 2019 Wisconsin State Journal
Walsh served as chief deputy solicitor general for Gov. Scott Walker 

Candidates for state attorney general like to promise that, if elected, they will stand up for all legally defensible laws passed by the voters’ representatives, whether Republican or Democrat. This pledge is rooted in principle: an attorney general is the chief lawyer of the people, not a party, and so, like any lawyer, he ought to put the interests of his client first.

Yet recent practice suggests that whether a state’s top cop will enforce or abandon a particular law depends more on its partisan flavor.

Josh Kaul, the newly elected Democratic attorney general of Wisconsin, is no exception to this new trend. Leading up to last November’s election, his oft-stated position was clear: “The AG’s job is to defend state statutes and state agency actions if there is a legally defensible position to take.”

Now ensconced in office, Kaul has taken a new tack. In a closely followed labor case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, Kaul quietly informed the justices recently that Wisconsin no longer objects to a lower-court ruling striking down a key part of its “right-to-work” law.

Adopted by 27 states, “right-to-work” laws free private employees not to pay a union that they do not wish to support. They do this mainly by forbidding unions from adding what are called “agency shop” provisions to their collective bargaining agreements. Those clauses say that every worker must pay union dues, even if they choose not to formally join the union. READ it HERE

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