State News

Gubernatorial candidate, school superintendent sued by conservative law firm

Tony Evers and his department are being sued by a right-wing law firm.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Tony Evers is being sued for allegedly overreaching on his authority to make rules as the state’s education superintendent — but he and his department are denying the claim, citing similar cases they’ve won in the past.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a right-wing law firm, filed the suit, the latest legal challenge in a decades-long Republican attempt to restrict the Department of Public Information’s power. As recently as 2016, the state Supreme Court ruled in Evers’ favor on a similar case, upholding his independence from Republicans in the state Legislature and governor’s mansion.

In bringing the new case, WILL is asking the court to take another look at their ruling from last year. They say Evers is now in violation of a law which took effect just months ago, requiring agencies to run proposed policy changes past Gov. Scott Walker’s Department of Administration.

WILL claims Evers’ department has made policies — including providing funding for school mental health programs and an early college credit program — without consulting the department.

Evers, who is also running for governor as a Democrat, believes the case is absurd, according to his spokesperson Tom McCarthy.

"The case has no merit, period,” McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “The only people that don’t understand this is WILL."

Republicans have been trying to control the power of the education department for years, bringing lawsuits as early as the 1990s. The department has successfully fended them off each time, but WILL may believe they can win this case because of the number of conservative judges on the state Supreme Court. 

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