ON-Lion Letter
In September, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) in Milwaukee filed an amicus curiae, or "friend-of-the-court," brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Coyne v. Walker.  WILL's amicus brief supports the Governor's and the State Legislature's rights to change regulatory and rulemaking authority of state agencies, including the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  It was filed on behalf of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, School Choice Wisconsin (SCW), former Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Scott Jensen, and former Democrat lawmaker Jason Fields. 
 
2011 Act 21 allows the Governor to veto proposed rules from state agencies.  Shortly after Act 21 was enacted, however a group of teachers sued Gov. Scott Walker, alleging the law was unconstitutional because it violated the constitutional power of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to supervise public education.  A Circuit Court ruled in the teachers' favor and that ruling was subsequently affirmed by an appellate court last February.
 
"The Court of Appeals decision undermines the constitutional authority of the legislature to craft education policy," according to Jensen.  "If it stands, future education-reform legislation will be in serious jeopardy."
 
WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg added that "[t]he text of the Wisconsin Constitution is very clear.  The Superintendent’s duties and powers are entirely up to the discretion of the State Legislature.  Because an earlier court case, Thompson v. Craney, came to a different conclusion, it should be overruled."
 
WILL's brief explains that throughout the state's history, the Legislature has given and taken away various powers and duties of the Superintendent.  Teacher licensing in 1848, for example, was the exclusive power of town superintendents.  It was only in 1939 that the legislature decided to give this duty to the Superintendent.  2011 Act 21 should not be treated differently, WILL argues.
 
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports WILL, as it does SCW.
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