Attorneys for Evers contended Schimel and his aides were violating ethics rules for lawyers because they were not pursuing the case in the way Evers wanted, were not conferring with him and did not honor his decision to fire them.
Past court rulings have determined the schools superintendent has broad authority and that includes the ability to direct litigation strategy, Evers attorney Ben Jones contended.
But Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin argued decisions about litigation belong to the attorney general, not Evers.
“With respect, independent litigation is not the supervision of education,” he said.
Both sides heard comments from the justices they liked.
“There’s nothing specific in Article 10 (of the state constitution) that says you have the power to litigate,” conservative Justice Daniel Kelly told Evers’ attorney.
But Justice Annette Ziegler, also a conservative, noted a recent high court ruling concluded Evers has vast powers. Ziegler dissented in that case, but acknowledged what her colleagues had ruled.
“Coyne set forth fairly strongly that Mr. Evers … is a constitutional officer and certain things cannot be taken away from him by the Legislature or elsewhere because it’s given to him by the constitution,” Zeigler said
She was referring to Coyne v. Walker, the 2016 state Supreme Court decision that handed a victory to Evers’ allies after a yearslong legal fight. That legal battle is being revived with the latest lawsuit.
Much more on Tony Evers, here.