The Wisconsin Supreme Court has once again ruled in favor of Republicans in the legislature, in a series of lawsuits challenging the Lame Duck Laws. The ruling is being praised by majority leaders in both chambers.
In an opinion issued on Thursday, the court upheld laws passed by Republicans in 2018 that limit some of the powers of the Governor’s office.
One of those laws prevents the governor and the attorney general’s office from leaving federal lawsuits that the state has joined. That law was enacted to keep Governor Tony Evers from dropping out of a number of controversial lawsuits the state was involved in during the Walker administration.
“We had a race for governor in 2018. I won. Unfortunately, things got off on the wrong foot because Republicans immediately passed a law overriding the will of the people and the election, and they’ve been sour grapes ever since,” Evers said on Twitter.
We had a race for governor in 2018. I won. Unfortunately, things got off on the wrong foot because Republicans immediately passed a law overriding the will of the people and the election, and they’ve been sour grapes ever since.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) July 9, 2020
The court also upheld a measure that requires the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee to sign off on lawsuit settlements for the state. That law has led to a protracted standoff between Republicans and Attorney General Josh Kaul on just how the JFC will be allowed to be read in on confidential cases.
Among many provisions, the ruling requires that Attorney General Kaul send settlements to the Joint Committee on Finance for review, according to a statement from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
A rogue attorney general can no longer unilaterally settle away laws already on the books and unelected bureaucrats can’t expand their powers beyond what the people have given them through their representatives. https://t.co/Ks7HVGSuvf
— Scott Fitzgerald (@SenFitzgerald) July 9, 2020
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the Legislature and all Wisconsinites who want to hold government accountable. A rogue attorney general can no longer unilaterally settle away laws already on the books and unelected bureaucrats can’t expand their powers beyond what the people have given them through their representatives.”
“In grasping at power after the 2018 elections, legislative Republicans demonstrated open hostility to outcomes chosen by Wisconsin voters and made it more difficult for state government to function effectively,” said AG Kaul in a statement. “Today’s decision leaves for another day a ruling on whether most applications of two provisions undermining the authority of the Office of Attorney General are constitutional, but the ultimate result is inevitable: those provisions will be found to be unconstitutional in nearly all of their applications.”
“Our state’s founders established co-equal branches of government in Wisconsin,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a statement. “This ruling reaffirms that each branch is equal to the other. This idea runs counter to what the governor and attorney general seem to believe. They deem the executive branch is the most important one and should unilaterally rule over the state.”