State Supreme Court Upholds Lame-Duck Laws
The conservative majority not persuaded by arguments that extraordinary session was unconstitutional.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Republican state lawmakers and upheld their actions during December’s lame-duck session of the state Legislature.
The court ruled 4-3 in favor of the GOP on Friday morning, dismissing an argument that the session was called unconstitutionally.
The plaintiffs in the case, the League of Women Voters, argued the state constitution doesn’t ascribe the power to call an extraordinary session of the Legislature to lawmakers, thereby making the December session and all actions therein unconstitutional and invalid.
“The Wisconsin Constitution itself affords the Legislature absolute discretion to determine the rules of its own proceedings,” Bradley wrote.
“In order to uphold the constitutionality of the December 2018 extraordinary session, the majority opinion subverts the plain text of Article IV, Section 11 of the Wisconsin Constitution,” Dallet wrote in the dissent. “The Legislature’s ability to determine the rules of its proceedings pursuant to Article IV, Section 8 does not swallow up the meeting requirements of Article IV, Section 11 or allow it to wield unbridled power.”
The court currently has a 4-3 conservative majority. That will move to 5-2 when Justice-elect Brian Hagedorn is sworn in in January.
As the state Supreme Court is the highest judicial power in Wisconsin, the lawsuit ends here.
Evers was quick to decry the decision Friday morning.
“Today’s decision is disappointing and, unfortunately, all too predictable,” Evers said. “It is based on a desired political outcome, not the plain meaning and text of the constitution.”
Chris Carson, the president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, said the court’s action “undermines the will of Wisconsin voters.”
“The Wisconsin State Legislature’s actions defied the democratic process, which is a major blow to our democracy as a whole,” Carson said.
GOP leaders, meanwhile, defended their actions.
“The Court upheld a previously non-controversial legislative practice used by both parties for decades to enact some of the most important laws in the state,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “This lawsuit, pursued by special interests and Governor Evers, has led to an unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources.”
One other case challenging the lame-duck session remains before the state Supreme Court.
The court has yet to hear arguments in that case, which argues the laws passed during the session violate the state constitution’s separation of powers guarantee by unfairly limiting the authority of the executive branch.
Two federal cases are also pending.
One of those relates to limiting early voting and changes to Wisconsin’s voter ID law passed during the lame-duck session. The other says the session violates the U.S. Constitution’s Guarantee Clause, which guarantees every state the right to a representative, republican form of government.
As those cases move forward, the vast majority of the lame-duck laws have been allowed to go into effect. The only exceptions are the limits on early voting, changes to some voter ID procedures, and a requirement that state agencies allow a public comment period on some public guidance documents. Those elements remain blocked by courts.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds GOP Lawmakers’ Lame-Duck Session was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
More about the Lame Duck Laws
- State Supreme Court Reviews Lame Duck Laws - Ruth Conniff - Oct 22nd, 2019
- Kaul Says Lame Duck Law Costs Taxpayers - Melanie Conklin - Sep 10th, 2019
- Democrats’ Bill Repeals Lame Duck Law - Laurel White - Sep 6th, 2019
- GOP Bungling Could Cost Wisconsin Taxpayers Millions - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Sep 4th, 2019
- Murphy’s Law: Lame Duck Laws Hurting the State - Bruce Murphy - Sep 4th, 2019
- Questions Swirl Around State Budget Committee Republicans’ Hiring of Lawyer/Lobbyist at Taxpayer Expense - One Wisconsin Now - Sep 4th, 2019
- Lame Duck Laws Opposed Overwhelmingly - Erik Gunn - Sep 4th, 2019
- Sen. Alberta Darling’s Corrupt Lame Duck Law Puts Settlement Funds At Risk - State Senate Democratic Committee - Aug 28th, 2019
- Serious Flaws in Republican Lame Duck Laws on Display in Joint Finance Committee - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Aug 27th, 2019
- GOP Suit Slaps Kaul on Lame Duck Laws - Melanie Conklin - Aug 2nd, 2019
- State Supreme Court Upholds Lame-Duck Laws - Laurel White - Jun 21st, 2019
- Gov. Evers Releases Statement Relating to Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision - Gov. Tony Evers - Jun 21st, 2019
- Wisconsin Budget: Lame Duck Mistake Reopens Tax Debate - Jon Peacock - Jun 12th, 2019
- High Court Reinstates Lame Duck Laws - Shawn Johnson - Jun 12th, 2019
- The State of Politics: An Uphill Fight for ‘Lame Duck’ Challengers? - Steven Walters - May 20th, 2019
- Conservatives Argue Against Lame-Duck Lawsuit - Shawn Johnson - May 16th, 2019
- Op Ed: Constitutional Boundaries Need Enforcement - Erin Grunze - May 10th, 2019
- Supreme Court Restores Lame Duck Appointees - Shawn Johnson - May 1st, 2019
- Former Lawmakers, WILL Enter Extraordinary Session Lawsuit - Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty - Apr 23rd, 2019
- Appeals Court Sides with Evers on Appointees - Shawn Johnson - Apr 10th, 2019
- GOP Asks Court to Restore Walker Appointees - Laurel White - Apr 2nd, 2019
- Evers, GOP Fight Over Walker Appointees - Laurel White - Mar 30th, 2019
- Appeals Court Restores Some Lame Duck Laws - Laurel White - Mar 28th, 2019
- Joint Statement: Appellate Court Decision on the Extraordinary Session - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - Mar 27th, 2019
- Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald Sends Letter to Appointees Impacted By Governor Evers’ Actions - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - Mar 27th, 2019
- Second Judge Rules Against Lame Duck Laws - Laurel White - Mar 27th, 2019
- Arguments Begin on 2nd Lame Duck Suit - Laurel White - Mar 25th, 2019
- Dane County Court’s New Level of Judicial Activism Throws Wisconsin Into Chaos - MacIver Institute - Mar 25th, 2019
- Representative LaKeshia Myers Issues a Statement Regarding the Lame Duck Court Ruling - State Rep. LaKeshia Myers - Mar 21st, 2019
- Judge Blocks Lame Duck Laws - Shawn Johnson - Mar 21st, 2019
- Gov. Evers Releases Statement on Dane County Court’s Ruling on Lame-Duck Session - Gov. Tony Evers - Mar 21st, 2019
- Evers Joins Unions on Lame Duck Suit - Shawn Johnson - Feb 25th, 2019
- Fourth Lawsuit Against Lame Duck Laws - Shawn Johnson - Feb 22nd, 2019
- DPW Files Federal Lawsuit Over Republicans’ Lame-Duck Power Grab - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Feb 21st, 2019
- Rep. Spreitzer, Sen. Ringhand Propose Lame Duck Limits - State Rep. Mark Spreitzer - Feb 11th, 2019
- Judge Blocks Lame Duck Voting Restrictions - Laurel White - Jan 18th, 2019
- Rep. Jimmy Anderson Seeks to Void the Wisconsin Power Grab - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Jan 10th, 2019
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- Murphy’s Law: State Facing Endless Lawsuits? - Bruce Murphy - Dec 18th, 2018
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- Motion to Block Early Voting Restrictions to be Filed Today - Citizen Action of Wisconsin - Dec 17th, 2018
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- Rep. Zamarripa Statement on Lame Duck Bills - State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa - Dec 14th, 2018
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- Governor Walker Signs Extraordinary Session Legislation into Law in Green Bay - Gov. Scott Walker - Dec 14th, 2018
- Governor-elect Tony Evers Statement on Kimberly-Clark Announcement - Gov. Tony Evers - Dec 13th, 2018
- Walker Defends Lame Duck Bills - Laurel White - Dec 12th, 2018
- Murphy’s Law: Republicans’ Plan for Permanent Power - Bruce Murphy - Dec 11th, 2018
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- Extraordinary Session Update: Legislature Approves Critical Reforms - Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty - Dec 5th, 2018
- Rep. Gwen Moore Statement on Republican Power Grab - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore - Dec 5th, 2018
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- Governor-elect Tony Evers Statement on Extraordinary Session - Gov. Tony Evers - Dec 5th, 2018
- Republican’s Holiday Gift to Wisconsin: An Assault on Democracy - State Sen. Janis Ringhand - Dec 5th, 2018
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- Governor-elect Tony Evers’ Testimony to the Joint Committee on Finance Opposing Extraordinary Session Legislation - Gov. Tony Evers - Dec 3rd, 2018
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