The Journal Sentinel reported this morning that a clerk in a Republican stronghold failed to count the entire votes of the city of Brookfield in the election of a judge to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin:

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that she failed to save on her computer and then report 14,315 votes in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial total she released after Tuesday’s election. With other smaller errors in Waukesha County, Prosser gained 7,582 votes over his challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, leaving the sitting justice significantly ahead for now amid ongoing official counting.

This is a strategic defeat for Big Labor’s attempts to get their favored candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg on the Supreme Court which would have turned the present 4-3 conservative majority into a 4-3 liberal majority.

The stakes are enormous:

A liberal Supreme Court in Wisconsin would be likely to uphold Judge Maryann Sumi’s decision to issue a restraining order against Governor Scott Walker’s bill restricting the collective bargaining power of public-employee unions thus blocking the bill from taking effect.

Governor Walker’s bill ends the common practice of automatically deducting union dues from employee paychecks. But once union payments become voluntary they tend to turn from a powerful stream to a mere trickle. In an article in the WSJ John Fund recounts the experience in other states:

In 2001, Utah made the collection of payments to union political funds optional, and nearly 95% of public school teachers opted not to pay. In 2005, Indiana GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels limited collective-bargaining rights for public employees, and today only 5% of state employees pay union dues.

For the public unions it’s neck or nothing. Without coercive dues they will lose their enormous political clout. No wonder they poured millions into the race between Justice David Prosser and liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Getting Kloppenburg into the Supreme Court would have been a huge victory for Big Labor in the war between public unions and taxpayers. After having taken over the Supreme Court they would have had the means to keep unrestricted collective bargaining rights intact in Wisconsin. The money from forced member dues would keep flowing into the pockets of Big Labor politicians.

Shouldn’t employees have a civil right to decide if they want to join a union or not? Isn’t it an inexcusable violation of an employee’s freedom to force them to pay union dues?

John Fund reports that not even JoAnne Kloppenburg likes paying mandatory dues when it comes to herself:

In 2009, she responded to a survey by saying the Wisconsin Bar Association should become “voluntary”. Then it would be “better situated and motivated to be more transparent, be more accountable, be more responsive.”