Despite having Democratic governor Tony Evers in power, Republican lawmakers and a conservative Supreme Court in Wisconsin have made sure to limit Evers’ power.
In December 2018, during the lame-duck session of the legislature, Republican lawmakers passed a series of laws which put the clamps on Evers’ power, including one that prevents him from pulling out of the state’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
Evers campaigned on having the state withdraw from the lawsuit.
Lawmakers acted presciently by limiting Evers’ ability to modify existing state laws such as Wisconsin’s voter ID and right-to-work laws.
Wisconsin’s right-to-work law was a hallmark piece of legislation passed under Scott Walker’s watch as governor in 2015. In fact, it may have largely contributed to the state going red during the last few years as unions have been effectively gutted.
These actions taken by Republican lawmakers at the end of 2018 obviously made Democrats in Wisconsin furious. Interest groups such as the League of Women Voters contended that the “state constitution does not 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.”
So, they went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to have this matter settled. However, their hopes were dashed when the court ruled 4-3 in favor of the GOP on Friday, June 21, 2019, effectively discarding an argument that the session was called unconstitutionally.
In the court’s majority opinion, conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley stated that “The Wisconsin Constitution itself affords the legislature absolute discretion to determine the rules of its own proceedings.”
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