A second judge is putting part of Wisconsin’s Republican reforms on hold.
Judge Frank Remington issued a temporary injunction Tuesday against the laws that deal with limiting Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul from managing lawsuits.
Republican lawmakers in Madison banned the two from withdrawing the state from lawsuits during a series of action in December.
All of those laws are on hold after a second judge last week said that lawmakers overstepped their constitutional authority. Remington said the law he was asked to consider is also unconstitutional.
“Wisconsin’s constitution is like a keel on a great ship,” Remington wrote. “In December 2018, the Legislature and then-Governor Scott Walker upended the balance that this state has had for most all of its 171 years. The time has come to right this ship-of-state so Wisconsin can resume smooth sailing ahead.”
Evers seized on the ruling as another victory.
“It is now abundantly clear that the lame duck session was nothing more than an illegal power grab intended to override the will of the people,” Evers said. “It is time to move beyond this chapter and work together to build a Wisconsin that puts the people first.”
SEIU brought the lawsuit. The union claims the legislature crossed the line into powers that should belong to the executive branch. Remington agreed.
“The Legislature has taken what rightfully belongs in the executive branch and unduly burdened or substantially interfered with the role and power vested in the executive branch,” Remington wrote in his decision.
But the top Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature said they still believe they will be vindicated in the end.
“All of the Legislature’s actions are consistent with the separation of powers that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld for decades,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a joint statement. “We will appeal this decision.”
Vos and Fitzgerald are waiting on a ruling for their first appeal.
That case relies on lawmakers’ insistence that they can set their own schedule, therefore the extraordinary session that they used to pass their reforms is constitutional.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for Watchdog.org.