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Michigan Right To Work Court Challenges Could Be Possible After State Supreme Court Decision

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder sits for a interview with The Associated Press in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich., on Thursday, May 30, 2013. Controversial right-to-work legislation in Michigan, signed by Snyder in 2012, may be open to court challenges after the state Supreme Court declined to issue an opinion requested by the governor on whether the laws were constitutional. (AP Photo/John Flesher) | AP

Will Michigan's hastily-passed right-to-work law stand up in court?

On Friday, the state's Supreme Court unanimously denied a request from Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to issue an advisory opinion on whether the law is constitutional.

“We are not persuaded that granting the request would be an appropriate exercise of the Court’s discretion,” wrote the Court.

That may leave December's controversial law open to court challenges, particularly when it comes to state employees, whose contracts expire at the end of 2013. The state's right-to-work legislation explicitly bars both private and public employers from requiring union dues of their workers.

But, according to MLive, the state's constitution also gives authority over the state's workforce to the Civil Services Commission. There's a question as to whether the right-to-work measures conflict with that constitutionally-mandated authority. State employee unions say that it does.

Reports say Snyder had hoped to secure an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court before negotiations with state employees began for a new collective bargaining agreement. According to the Detroit News, three challenges to the law are currently pending in state and local courts.

Not receiving the opinion from the Supreme Court means, for now, that any challenges to right to work won't be shot up to the Supreme Court for review. Instead, those decisions will likely first be made in circuit and appellate courts, according to the Detroit Free Press.

It could also eventually spell more headaches for Snyder, who has spent much of the summer stumping around the state for Medicare expansion after his fellow Republicans in the Senate refused to vote on the bill.

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