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Silver Lake Sanitary Dist. v. Wisconsin Dep't of Natural Resources

ELR Citation: 30 ELR 20216
Nos. No. 99-0620, 607 N.W.2d 50/(Wis. Ct. App., 12/09/1999)

The court holds that a state environmental agency does not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of two state statutes that limited the agency's authority to set ordinary high watermark boundaries for lakes. The court first holds that a state agency generally may not attack a statute's constitutionality. The no standing rule is absolute in cases between an agency or a municipality and the state. The rule, however, does not apply if the issue is of great public concern, and private litigants are an essential element to a lawsuit before an arm of the state can contest a statute's constitutionality under this exception. The court, therefore, holds that the great public concern exception does not apply in this case because a private litigant was not a part of the lawsuit.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (9 pp., ELR Order No. L-131).

Counsel for Petitioner
H. Stanley Riffle
Arenz, Molter, Macy & Riffle
720 N. East Ave., Waukesha WI 53186
(262) 548-1340

Counsel for Respondent
Joanne Kloppenburg, Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
114 E. State Capitol, Madison WI 53707
(608) 266-1221