Attorney General Josh Kaul indicated Tuesday the Department of Justice won’t defend the state against the most recent lawsuit challenging the GOP’s lame-duck law.
When asked by reporters about the lawsuit that several unions filed Monday, Kaul referenced a similar suit brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in which he declined to represent the state due to perceived conflict.
“Wisconsin Department of Justice has a substantial interest in that case because the authority of (DOJ) was impacted,” Kaul said of the LWV case. “We view that as a conflict with defending the law.”
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Wisconsin’s lame-duck law, which Republican legislators swiftly passed and former Gov. Scott Walker signed in December, stripped some of the powers of the governor and attorney general.
The law has faced several legal challenges, most recently from a group of unions contending it violates the state constitution’s separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.
That lawsuit is the fourth challenge to the lame duck law, meaning taxpayers will likely continue to pay more to defend it in court. Kaul declined to represent the state in the LWV case, prompting Gov. Tony Evers to spend as much as $50,000 to hire private attorneys to represent him in the suit.
Evers, a Democrat, opposes the law, but he is named as a defendant because he is now the governor.
Meanwhile, Republican legislative leaders have retained Misha Tseytlin, the state’s former solicitor general, as their attorney in the case.