Wisconsin court OKs lawyers for lawmakers before lawsuits

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that state lawmakers can hire private attorneys at taxpayer expense even before a lawsuit has been filed, an expansion of what had been done under current law.

The 4-3 ruling came in a case that challenged Republican legislative leaders hiring attorneys last year to handle lawsuits over redistricting before one had been filed.

A Dane County circuit court judge blocked the hiring, but the Supreme Court stayed that ruling while it considered the case. The conservative majority of the Supreme Court on Thursday said a state law allowing legislators to enter into contractual services includes hiring attorneys.

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