Evers Administration rejects idea of emergency in Wisconsin school choice lawsuit

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(The Center Square) – The effort to end school choice in Wisconsin through the state’s supreme court has failed to convince Gov. Tony Evers.

The Evers Administration late Friday submitted a brief with the high court, explaining there is no emergency basis for the Supreme Court to take the case.

“This response does not address the ultimate merits of Petitioners’ claims, but simply explains why they are more appropriately adjudicated in the circuit court,” the court filing from Administration Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld stated.

Progressive activist and often-candidate Kirk Bangstad filed the lawsuit last month, claiming school choice and Wisconsin’s voucher programs are both unconstitutional and hurt traditional public schools by sending money to private schools.

Bangstad said both programs need to be shut down “before the next school year.”

The Evers’ Administration filing says nothing in Bangstad’s lawsuit makes that case.

“While the topic of educating Wisconsin’s children is obviously one of great public importance, the Petition does not meet the other criteria for an original action,” the brief added.

Evers’ team wasn’t the only one to file with the court in the school choice case last week.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also filed a brief with the court.

He too said there is no emergency, and no need for the new to fast track Bangstad’s lawsuit.

“Petitioners bring this Petition For Original Action, asking this Court to strike down Wisconsin’s school choice regime. But no exigent circumstances justify allowing Petitioners to skip the ordinary litigation process to bring their claims, which all involve complex factual disputes that are not appropriate in the original action context,” Vos’ brief stated.

Vos’ filing, too, says Bangstad has failed to make a solid case as to why school choice must be reversed immediately.

“The Petition points to no breaking developments of fact or law that create any exigency with the programs now – let alone one that requires resolution by June 2024, as Petitioners request,” the brief added.

While Bangstad has publicly said he wants the cases handled as quickly as possible in order to protect school children, he said in a fundraising email earlier this month the next Supreme Court election is actually driving the case.

“We need the Supreme Court to take this case up NOW [because] there’s a real possibility that the uncorrupted Supreme Court majority that we worked so hard achieve by electing Janet Protasiewicz last April won’t be around in 2025 after the next Supreme Court election takes place,” Bangstad wrote in his email. “If we take this case slowly, it might not make it to the Supreme Court until 2025, and there’s a 50% chance (like every election in our swing state) that the court will become corrupted again and fall back into the pockets of Betsy Devos’ school choice lobby.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has not yet said if it will take Bangstad’s case or send it to a lower court first.

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