The Latest: Conservative justices question lame-duck case
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on oral arguments before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a lawsuit challenging Republican-authored lame-duck laws weakening Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers (all times local):
Conservative-leaning justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are trying to poke holes in arguments that Republican legislators convened illegally when they passed laws during a December lame-duck session limiting Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers.
The GOP passed the laws during a previously unscheduled extraordinary session. A coalition of liberal-leaning groups sued in January arguing that extraordinary sessions are illegal. A Dane County judge sided with coalition in March and invalidated all actions taken during the December session. Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to overturn that decision.
During oral arguments Tuesday the conservative justices who control the court peppered the coalition’s attorney, Jeffrey Mandell, with questions.
Justice Rebecca Bradley pointed out that the Legislature has convened in extraordinary sessions for 40 years and no one has challenged the process until now. Justice Dan Kelly said the Legislature can adopt a “broad and amorphous” interpretation of how and when it can meet. And Chief Justice Pat Roggensack said she didn’t understand Mandell’s arguments.
An attorney representing Republican legislators is telling the state Supreme Court that lawmakers properly convened to pass lame-duck laws weakening Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers before they took office.
Republicans convened a previously unscheduled extraordinary session in December to pass laws blocking Evers from withdrawing from lawsuits without their permission, forcing Kaul to get their approval to settle lawsuits and giving themselves the right to intervene in lawsuits.
A coalition of liberal-leaning groups filed a lawsuit in January arguing that extraordinary sessions are illegal. A Dane County judge agreed in March and invalidated all actions taken during it. A state appellate court put that ruling on hold while the Supreme Court considers the case.
The Republican legislators’ attorney, Misha Tseytlin, told the justices during oral arguments Wednesday that the Legislature met legally because it never dissolved itself after finishing its scheduled work in the spring of 2018.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging limits state Republicans placed on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers during a lame-duck legislative session last year.
Republicans blocked Evers from withdrawing from lawsuits without legislative permission, forced Kaul to get lawmakers’ approval to settle lawsuits and gave themselves the right to intervene in lawsuits.
The session has sparked multiple lawsuits, including one led by the League of Women Voters that’s before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
A Dane County judge ruled in that case in March that the lame-duck session was illegal and invalidated all actions taken during it. But a state appellate court put the ruling on hold and the conservative-controlled Supreme Court took the case.