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Supreme Court denies 2 motions in lame-duck lawsuits

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has denied two motions in two of the state’s lame-duck lawsuits.

The two suits pit the Service Employees International Union, Local 1 against House Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

The court announced Tuesday that it was denying Attorney General Josh Kaul’s motion for leave to file a reply memorandum in support of his motion to modify the stay of the temporary injunction of 2017 Wis. Act 369 pending appeal. The justices also denied Republican defendants Vos, state Senate President Roger Roth, state Assembly Leader Jim Steineke and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s motion for leave to file a sur-reply memorandum in opposition to motion to modify the stay.

The Supreme Court upheld the lame-duck laws in a 4-3 ruling in June. A group of liberal-leaning organizations had sued, alleging the laws were invalid because legislators convened illegally to pass them, but the justices decided the Wisconsin Constitution gives lawmakers the authority to decide when to meet.

On Tuesday, the court also decided to hold in abeyance three motions in a related lawsuit, Vos v Kaul. In this lawsuit, the Republican-controlled Legislature alleges Kaul failed to comply with parts of the lame-duck laws relating to his authority as attorney general.

In November, legislative petitioners filed a motion for temporary injunctive relief and for merits briefing and argument on all issues during the 2019-2020 term. Kaul then filed a motion requesting a deadline of Dec. 20 for his response, and legislative petitioners filed a response. The court decided Tuesday that it would hold the motions in abeyance pending further order of the court.

Vos v Kaul is the fifth suit in the lame-duck saga.

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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