Wisconsin Supreme Court Backs GOP Scheme To Rob Dem Governor Of Appointment Powers

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Politics

The Wisconsin Supreme Court endorsed a blatant power grab by the Republican-controlled state Senate on Wednesday, using a case focused on technical bureaucratic matters to endorse a scheme to seize control of state boards and commissions by declining to confirm appointments from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. In a 4-3 decision, the court’s conservative justices ruled that Fred Prehn, a GOP member of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, could remain in his position despite the fact that his term ended more than a year ago, simply because the state Senate has not yet confirmed the replacement appointed by Evers. AdvertisementPrehn refused to leave the role at the scheduled end of his term in May 2021, arguing that it is not technically vacant until his replacement is confirmed. The Republican-controlled legislature, meanwhile, is not confirming many of Evers’ appointments, creating an inescapable Catch-22 that effectively robs the Democratic governor of his appointment power. The state Supreme Court majority sanctioned this scheme Wednesday, affirming a lower court ruling that the expiration of Prehn’s term by itself “does not create a vacancy” under state law, and that Evers and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul cannot seek his removal.The ruling will have substantial impacts on Wisconsin environmental policy, allowing a board that creates and shapes the implementation of such rules to remain in control of its current Republican majority. More broadly, it will provide another boost to Wisconsin Republicans’ efforts to use their state legislative majorities to exert unprecedented levels of power over the state, as they seek to erode Evers’ authorities on nearly every front. In effect, Republicans can ensure GOP control of state boards and commissions in perpetuity by refusing to leave appointed positions when their …

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