Federal judge dismisses lawsuit over lame-duck laws that limited powers of Democratic leaders

Gov. Tony Evers
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- A federal judge has dismissed the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s lawsuit alleging Republican lawmakers used a lame-duck session to limit the powers of Democratic leaders.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson dismissed the lawsuit Monday saying a state and not a federal court should rule whether or not state Republicans violated its legal authority.

The lame duck laws restricted much of the power of incoming Democrats Gov. Tony Evers and state Attorney General Josh Kaul back in January 2019.

State Democrats then filed suit in February saying Republicans acted with partisan intent to limit the powers of Evers and Kaul.

In court Monday, Judge Peterson ordered that the motion for a preliminary injunction filed by the Democrats be denied.

According to online federal court documents:

“The bottom line is that federal courts don’t have the authority under the United States Constitution to police the boundaries between legislative and executive power in state government in the absence of a concrete and particularized harm and the violation of a federal constitutional right. If Evers, Kaul, or anyone else believes that the state legislature has overstepped its lawful authority, the remedy is a lawsuit in state court under the state constitution. See, e.g., Cooper v. Berger, 809 S.E.2d 98 (N.C. 2018) (holding that state legislature violated separation of powers doctrine by transferring certain powers from legislative to executive branch during lame-duck session).”