These "strict constructionist" Justices, who promised to enforce the language of out state constitution in their campaigns, parsed and twisted themselves into pretzels justifying their predetermined judicial outcome.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld lame-duck laws Friday that limit the power of the state's new Democratic governor ... In Friday's 4-3 decision, conservatives on the state's high court found lawmakers were allowed to bring themselves into session in December. "The Wisconsin Constitution mandates that the Legislature meet 'at such time as shall be provided by law.' The Legislature did so," Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority.
Writing for the dissenters, Justice Rebecca Dallet contended the Legislature's two-year session "ceased to exist" in March 2018, when it held its last planned meeting. Leaders had "no authority" to bring lawmakers back in December because no state law gave them that power, she wrote. "The Legislature violated the plain constitutional text, and this court must act as a check," she wrote.
Governor Evers called the decision predictable and disappointing. “It is based on a desired political outcome, not the plain meaning and text of the constitution,” his statement said. "Our framers knew that no good comes from lawmakers rushing laws through at the last minute without public scrutiny. The lame-duck session proves the framers were right. This was an attack on the will of the people, our democracy, and our system of government.”
The groups argued such sessions aren't allowed because the state constitution says lawmakers can meet only when called into a special session by the governor or as provided by law. Lawmakers wrote a work schedule that said they had the power to hold extraordinary sessions whenever they wanted. That was enough to comply with the constitutional provisions on when the Legislature can meet, the majority concluded.
It will be interesting to see just how far the right wing court will go with this more important and most basic question. A decision that could or should put aside today ruling:
The state Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the coming months in a lawsuit brought by unions that argues the laws violate the state constitution's separation-of-powers doctrine, which delineates what powers belong to each branch of government.