Wisconsin Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Scope of Governor’s Veto Authority

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to take up a challenge brought by a conservative firm that aims to scale back the governor’s veto powers.

Filed over the summer on behalf of three Wisconsin taxpayers, the suit calls on the court to determine whether the governor may veto portions of a budget bill that are “essential, integral, and interdependent parts of those which were approved.”

The court on Wednesday decided to take the case directly, rather than directing the group to first go through the lower courts, a decision WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg praised in a statement.

“The people of Wisconsin never intended the check on legislative power the Governor’s veto represents to permit the Governor to legislate on his own,” said Esenberg, who’s representing the three Wisconsin taxpayers in the case. “We are pleased the Court agreed that Governor Evers’ recent use of the partial veto warrants judicial review.”

Wisconsin governors hold the country’s most powerful partial veto authority on spending measures, but aren’t able to use the veto pen to create new words by striking out individual letters, and they can’t craft new sentences by combining parts of two or more lines in legislation. Both limitations were imposed after voters approved previous constitutional amendments to limit governors’ authority in that arena.