The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that a conservative member of the Natural Resources Board doesn’t have to relinquish his seat, even though his term expired last year.
Fred Prehn was appointed to the board by former Republican governor Scott Walker. His term ended in May of last year. But in 4-to-3 decision, the justices upheld a Dane County judge’s ruling that Prehn, a Wausau dentist, may keep serving until a successor is confirmed by the state Senate. Attorney General Josh Kaul had sued to remove Prehn.
Republican leaders have declined to schedule a confirmation hearing for Governor Evers’ appointee. The board sets policy for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Governor Tony Evers condemned the court’s decision.
Today’s #SCOWIS decision in Prehn continues to underscore the erosion of democratic institutions at the hands of Republicans in this state. It’s wrongheaded, it’s shortsighted, and it’s politics at its most dangerous.
Read my full statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/iBR6WCojS7
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) June 29, 2022
Prehn cited a 1964 state Supreme Court decision that says appointed board members can remain seated after their term expires until a replacement is confirmed by the state Senate. Walker appointees continue to hold a majority on the 7 member board.