5-16-19 conservative justices question lame-duck case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Conservative-leaning justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are trying to poke holes in arguments that Republican legislators convened illegally when they passed laws during a December lame-duck session limiting Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers.  The GOP passed the laws during a previously unscheduled extraordinary session. A coalition of liberal-leaning groups sued in January arguing that extraordinary sessions are illegal. A Dane County judge sided with coalition in March and invalidated all actions taken during the December session. Republicans have asked the Supreme Court to overturn that decision.  During oral arguments Tuesday the conservative justices who control the court peppered the coalition’s attorney, Jeffrey Mandell, with questions.  Justice Rebecca Bradley pointed out that the Legislature has convened in extraordinary sessions for 40 years and no one has challenged the process until now. Justice Dan Kelly said the Legislature can adopt a “broad and amorphous” interpretation of how and when it can meet. And Chief Justice Pat Roggensack said she didn’t understand Mandell’s arguments.