Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds lame-duck law from GOP lawmakers limiting power of new Democratic governor

Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled Friday that a set of laws passed by the state's Republican majority and signed by outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker last year were passed legally under the state's constitution.

State Republicans sparked controversy by passing a set of laws aimed at limiting the power of newly-elected Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.  

The Associated Press reported that the court ruled against Democrats who argued that the legislature convened illegally and passed the laws outside of normal session, finding that lawmakers in the state have the authority to choose when to meet.

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Some of the laws are still under challenge in federal court, while others are pending on the merits of the laws themselves before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“The terminology the Legislature chooses to accomplish the legislative process is squarely the prerogative of the Legislature,” wrote the court's conservative majority, according to the AP.

Evers called the court's ruling “all too predictable.”

“It is based on a desired political outcome, not the plain meaning and text of the constitution,” Evers said, according to the AP.

Republicans in the state legislature, meanwhile, urged the governor to abandon his legal efforts against the legislation.

“This lawsuit, pursued by special interests and Governor Evers, has led to an unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources,” state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a joint statement obtained by the AP. “We urge the governor to work with the Legislature instead of pursuing his political agenda through the courts.”

The legislation, signed into law in December by then-governor Walker, prohibited Evers to withdraw the state's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and transferred control of a state economic development board to the Republican-controlled legislature.

Walker denied at the time that the move was a measure crafted to weaken his successor.

“These bills don’t fundamentally change the power not just of the next governor but any governor thereafter,” he said at the time.