Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Gov. Evers’ case against Republican Legislature

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Wisconsin’s Supreme Court held oral arguments on Wednesday in Democratic Governor Tony Evers lawsuit against the Republican-led legislature. The case could ultimately change the way Wisconsin’s government is run.
Currently, if a funding request from Gov. Evers is over $250,000, any single member of the Legislature’s Republican-led Joint Finance Committee can block the request all by themselves, and do so anonymously.
“That’s the system Evers is challenging,” Howard Schweber, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison said.
Gov. Evers argues the Joint Finance Committee is unconstitutionally overstepping its powers.
“The idea that somehow they have the ability to essentially work as a fourth arm of our state is just wrong,” Gov. Evers said to press on Tuesday during a Joint Finance Committee special meeting Evers called to release PFAS funds that no Republicans came to.
From PFAS funding to raises for University of Wisconsin employees to Department of Natural Resources grants, the Committee and the Governor do not tend to agree much on how to spend money. The lawsuit specifically cites the legislature’s refusal to fund what would have been the largest land conservation project in Wisconsin’s history.
“We also learn the sort of Schoolhouse Rock separation of powers idea legislature makes laws and the executive carries them out,” Schweber said. “It’s never been that simple in practice.”
During oral arguments, the legislature’s attorney, Misha Tseytlin, argued against limiting the legislature’s ability to block Gov. Evers’ funding requests.
“[Evers’ lawsuit would] overturn how our state government has functioned for almost a century,” Tseytlin said.
Gov. Evers has vetoed more legislation than any other Wisconsin governor in history. Schweber says the incessant disagreement is a symptom of the times.
“Extreme partisanship can create a constitutional crisis,” Schweber said.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s public information officer told our Wisconsin State Capitol Bureau Chief they do not have a publicly established timeline for when the court is expected to make a decision.
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