Republicans in the state Legislature announced Monday they intend to intervene in a new lawsuit challenging the 2011 law that weakened public-sector unions known as Act 10.

The case was brought earlier this month by two chapters of Operating Engineers of Wisconsin to suspend parts of the 2011 law signed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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The case seeks to suspend parts of the law based on an argument it violates the constitutional rights of union members. The union chapters revived the case this year after voluntarily dismissing a suit they brought in 2018 to await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a case involving unions, Janus v. AFSCME.

It comes after several unsuccessful challenges to the law over the past decade.

“We aren’t picking this fight — once again a liberal group is trying to change laws that have been passed by the Legislature and previously upheld by the courts,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by and allow our attorney general or governor an opportunity to undermine Act 10, and will seek to intervene in this case accordingly to make sure that the law is upheld.”

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Republicans in the state Legislature have sought over the past several months to intervene in a variety of cases challenging state law because they don’t think Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, will adequately defend their position in court.

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Republicans were granted a motion to intervene in a case challenging the state’s lame-duck laws that curb some powers of the governor and attorney general. Republicans were also allowed to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s political maps, but were denied a motion to intervene in a case challenging the state’s abortion laws.

A spokeswoman for Kaul didn’t immediately respond to a request asking whether Kaul will defend the state in the suit.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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Capitol reporter

Riley Vetterkind covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal. He can be reached at (608) 252-6135 or rvetterkind@madison.com.