At the beginning of August, the new Wisconsin State Supreme Court was seated for the next one-year term. 2019-2020 iteration marks a shift right after newly elected justice Brian Hagedorn was seated to replace longtime justice Shirley Abrahamson. Conservatives control the court by a 5-2 margin once again after the 2018-19 session where they controlled it 4-3 when Rebecca Dallet replaced Michael Gableman after his retirement.
Hagedorn received his law degree from Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law in 2006. After graduation he was employed by Foley and Lardner until 2009 when he was appointed as a law clerk to Justice Gableman. He served briefly as an assistant attorney general in the Wisconsin Department of Justice before Governor-elect Scott Walker named him his chief legal counsel. Hagedorn held this position until 2015 when Walker appointed him to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
The 2019 campaign between Hagedorn and fellow appeals court judge Lisa Neubauer was contentious where social issues dominated the dialogue. Neubauer held a large cash-advantage over Hagedorn throughout the campaign and outspent him 2-1. Not much public polling was available throughout the race but private polling showed Hagedorn down significantly until the last few weeks of the campaign. Hagedorn ultimately prevailed by over 6,000 votes and Neubauer did not request a recount.
The first round of oral arguments for this term will occur during the first week of September. Cases have been announced for September and October which can be found at www.wicourts.gov. Oral arguments occur multiple times a month from September through May of each term. One case related to legislative vs. administration powers stemming from the 2018 Extraordinary Session is set to be heard in October in SEIU v. Vos. The plaintiffs (several public sector unions) allege that the extraordinary session laws are an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers doctrine.
According to the unions, Article V of the Wisconsin Constitution gives the governor the exclusive power to execute laws. Article V also guarantees that one branch may not interfere with another branch's powers. The plaintiffs allege that extraordinary session provisions, including increased legislative oversight of rulemaking, attorney general lawsuits, and agency appropriations, interfere with the governor's and attorney general's constitutional powers. Furthermore, they argue committee oversight without opportunity for a governor veto violates constitutional separation of powers.
The defendant legislature argues that the Wisconsin Constitution explicitly allows the legislature to prescribe the powers of the attorney general. Furthermore, Wisconsin case law has interpreted the Constitution as a fluid rather than rigid political design of separate branches of government.
All oral arguments can be streamed at www.wiseye.org.