Indiana approved a right-to-work law last year only after two years of bitter partisan conflict that spurred minority Democrats to temporarily flee the state and thousands of union workers to descend on the Statehouse in protest. But now that law appears to be headed to the state Supreme Court. This month Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia, an appointee of Republican then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, struck down the law, saying it violated a provision of the state constitution barring the delivery of services "without just compensation." "This is a victory for the middle class," James M. Sweeney, president-business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, said in a statement. "These laws are nothing but thinly veiled tools to weaken unions, and this is a big win for workers who rely on unions to provide decent wages and benefits." But the Indiana attorney general's office said it would appeal the ruling directly to the state Supreme Court, and Republican lawmakers were confident it would be overturned, pointing out that Lake County was labor-friendly. "This is not unexpected in Lake County," he said. "I'm sure they went forum shopping when they filed the suit. I am confident that this decision won't stand." Joel Schumm, a professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, seemed inclined to agree, saying the constitutional provision at issue has historically applied only to individuals. "Unions are not generally thought of as a 'person,' nor are they organizations that existed when the Indiana Constitution was ratified in 1851," he said. (INDIANAPOLIS STAR)
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