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Judge strikes down Wis. law limiting union rights

A Wisconsin judge on Friday struck down the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

It was not clear if the ruling means the law is immediately suspended. The law took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers and has been in effect for more than a year.

Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void. The ruling comes after a lawsuit brought by the Madison teachers union and a union for Milwaukee city employees.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said he was confident the decision will be overturned on appeal.

"We believe the law is constitutional," said Department of Justice spokeswoman Dana Brueck.

Lester Pines, an attorney for Madison Teachers Inc., did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The proposal was introduced shortly after Walker took office in February last year. It resulted in a firestorm of opposition and led to huge protests at the state Capitol that lasted for weeks. All 14 Democratic state senators fled the state to Illinois for three weeks in an ultimately failed attempt to stop the law's passage from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Anger over the law's passage led to an effort to recall Walker from office. More than 930,000 signatures were collected triggering the June recall election. Walker won and became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall.

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