A split state Supreme Court rejected Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ last-minute request to shield him from providing a deposition in a lawsuit a liberal group filed seeking records from former Justice Michael Gableman’s review of the 2020 election.

Writing for the majority, conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn called Vos’ request an “extraordinary petition we grant only in the rarest of cases.” He noted Vos, R-Rochester, failed to follow a court rule that first requires a supervisory writ to be filed with the court of appeals unless it is impractical to do so. Hagedorn wrote the GOP leader also failed to meet the standards required for a supervisory writ such as a “grave hardship or irreparable harm.”

Vos filed the motion with the state Supreme Court yesterday after the 3rd District Court of Appeals rejected his request to halt the depositions of the Rochester Republican and one of his legislative attorneys. The liberal group American Oversight wants to depose them in their efforts to fulfill the group’s records request.

Vos filed a request for a stay in the proceedings with the appeals court, but didn’t file a supervisory writ.

Conservatives Rebecca Bradley, Pat Roggensack and Annette Ziegler dissented, arguing the majority had failed to consider “the constitution, caselaw, or basic principles of attorney-client privilege.”

They questioned whether a sitting legislator and his attorney can be deposed, pointing to attorney-client privilege and the Wisconsin Constitution’s provision that lawmakers shall not be “subject to any civil process” during a legislative session. They would stay the depositions to “consider these weighty issues.”

But Hagedorn pointed out Vos didn’t raise either of those issues with the Dane County judge overseeing the case. He said the minority was trying to “improve upon the obviously deficient petition.” Hagedorn wrote arguments over attorney-client privilege and if a sitting lawmaker can be deposed may have merit, but it’s not the court’s role to raise them.

“Our task is to decide disputes based on the claims raised by the parties, not picking
sides and not preferring any particular outcome,” Hagedorn wrote. “The rule of law compels no less.”

American Oversight said Vos attorney Steve Fawcett was scheduled to be deposed at 9 a.m. today. Vos’ deposition is scheduled for 1 p.m., and both will be done over Zoom.

Meanwhile, the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee has a fundraiser that begins in Key West, Fla., this evening and runs through tomorrow. The fundraiser is $6,000 per person and includes events such as a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home and a catamaran sailing trip.

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