‘Republicans are going to continue working against me every chance they get’: Evers reacts to lame-duck laws court decision

Wisconsin Supreme Court OKs GOP-authored lame-duck laws
wisconsin state capitol

MADISON, Wis. — The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld Republican-authored lame-duck laws that curtailed the powers of the incoming Democratic attorney general.

The justices rejected arguments that the laws were unconstitutional, handing another win to Republicans who have scored multiple high-profile victories before the court in recent years.

The 5-2 ruling marks the second time that the court has upheld the lame-duck laws passed in December 2018, just weeks before Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, took office. The actions in Wisconsin mirrored Republican moves after losing control of the governors’ offices in Michigan in November 2018 and in North Carolina in 2016. Democrats decried the tactics as brazen attempts to hold onto power after losing elections.

The laws prohibit Evers from ordering Kaul to withdraw from lawsuits, give legislators the right to intervene in lawsuits without using Kaul’s Justice Department lawyers and force Kaul to get GOP legislators’ permission before settling lawsuits.

Evers tweeted shortly after the decision was released Thursday that Wisconsin Republican legislators have been “sour grapes” since he won the election.

“We had a race for governor in 2018. I won,” Evers said. “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. From the lame duck laws and challenging my veto power, to Safer at Home and holding an unsafe election this past April, clearly Republicans are going to continue working against me every chance they get, regardless of the consequences.”

Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who helped shepherd the laws through the lame-duck session, called the ruling a victory.

“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,” Fitzgerald said Thursday morning.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also reacted to the decision, saying the ruling affirms that the branches of Wisconsin’s government are equal.

“Our state’s founders established co-equal branches of government in Wisconsin. 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,” Vos said. “The governor and attorney general can continue to try to work around the legislature and violate laws when doing so, or they can begin to understand that there are checks and balances set forth in our representative democracy, just as the state high court reminded them today.”