Judge Blocks Unconstitutional Lame-Duck Session Laws on March 21, 2019
LWVWI members, staff, and board sat in the courtroom Monday afternoon to hear the lawyer representatives give their arguments on behalf of the defendants and plaintiffs in the League of Women Voters v. Knutson case. LWVWI, Disability Rights Wisconsin, and Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, as well as Green County Clerk Michael Doyle (the only county clerk elected in Wisconsin as an independent), and three Wisconsin residents, are the plaintiffs represented in the matter by Madison and Milwaukee-based law firm Stafford Rosenbaum, nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy, and law firm Robbins Russell. This lawsuit is the only one that sought to invalidate the entire “extraordinary session” as unconstitutional. Today Judge Niess made his ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.
Today’s court ruling is a win for democracy! The Dane County Circuit Court ruled that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in showing that the laws were invalid because they were passed during an unlawful “extraordinary session.” The Wisconsin constitution empowers the legislature to meet only in regular sessions established by statute, or in a “special session” called by the governor. No constitutional provision allows for the legislature to call an “extraordinary session” on its own initiative. And for good reason. As the court concluded, “the people’s liberty is imperiled by a Legislature that can meet at will any time, with little warning and even less of a published agenda.”
You can read LWVWI's statement and review the Judge's ruling on the LWVWI website.