MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders have asked the conservative-leaning state Supreme Court to invalidate a Madison judge’s ruling that they illegally hired private taxpayer-funded attorneys to represent them in anticipation of legal challenges over redistricting.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu made the request Wednesday. The Supreme Court released their filings late Thursday afternoon and set a July 8 deadline for briefs from all parties involved.
Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke in April voided the GOP’s contracts with two outside law firms. The deals allowed for spending more than $1 million for representation.
The 3rd District Court of Appeals on Tuesday refused the Republicans’ request to stay Ehlke’s ruling pending review in that court.
Vos and LeMahieu asked the Supreme Court in their filings to put Ehlke’s ruling on hold and take the case directly without waiting for a decision from a lower appeals court.
Four Madison teachers, including the current and incoming teachers union president, brought the lawsuit arguing that state law does not allow for legislative leaders to hire attorneys outside the state Department of Justice before a lawsuit has been filed.
The Legislature has yet to begin the redistricting process. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will likely any new maps Republicans produce, setting up a court battle.