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Judge says anti-right-to-work lawsuit can proceed

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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An Ingham County judge says groups hoping to repeal Michigan’s new right-to-work law can move forward with their lawsuit. Judge William Collette today rejected the state’s request to dismiss the case.

Collette had tough questions for state officials at the hearing. But he also told the ACLU of Michigan and union groups they have an “uphill battle” going forward in the case.

ACLU Attorney Michael Pitt says that doesn’t worry him a bit.

“I’ve heard that from judges for 39 years as a lawyer, and somehow I’ve been able to climb uphill and win the cases.”

Pitt says the ruling means they can now gather more evidence and interview witnesses to build a case.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says hundreds of citizens were in the House and Senate chambers as lawmakers took up the bills.

Joy Yearout is a spokesperson for state Attorney General Bill Schuette. She says the judge’s decision is not a major setback.

“He has every right to lay out the parameters as to what evidence he needs before he can make a decision. That being said, we’re fully confident that after he reviews the evidence – which at this point we don’t expect there is much evidence to suggest violation – that he’ll uphold the law.”

The suit claims state officials violated the Open Meetings Act by closing the state Capitol as lawmakers debated and passed the legislation.

Judge Collette did dismiss from the case the Michigan State Police Captain who ordered the doors of the Capitol closed

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