The Wisconsin Supreme court tossed governor Gov. Tony Evers’ stay at home orders. In a 4-3 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, Wisconsin Now Without COVID-19 Restrictions. Conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ monthslong stay-at-home order in a ruling released Wednesday.
The 4-3 decision marked the first time a state’s highest court has overturned a stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic and sided with Republican leaders who argued the governor’s administration had overstepped its legal authority.
The court rejected the legislature’s request for a six-day stay to allow the GOP lawmakers and the governor to work out new rules.
Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley Questions Deputy Attorney General Colin Rot:
“Where in the constitution did the people of Wisconsin confer authority on a single, unelected Cabinet secretary to compel almost 6 million people to stay at home and close their businesses and face imprisonment if they don’t comply, with no input from the legislature, without the consent of the people?” Bradley asked. “Isn’t it the very definition of tyranny for one person to order people for being imprisoned for going to work, among other ordinarily lawful activities?”
The court's ruling awards Republicans a temporary injunction to block the governor's extension of the order that was set to expire on 20 May.
The Tavern League of Wisconsin swiftly posted the news on its website, telling members, “You can OPEN IMMEDIATELY!”
The decision let stand language that had closed schools, however, and local governments can still impose their own health restrictions. In Dane County, home to the capital of Madison, officials quickly imposed a mandate incorporating most of the statewide order. City health officials in Milwaukee, meanwhile, said a stay-at-home order they enacted in late March remains in effect.
But local polls show that Wisconsin residents largely support the shutdown, reflecting national polls that show a majority of Americans believe quarantine efforts should've been in place much earlier.
A poll from Marquette University Law School showed 69 per cent of Wisconsin voters support Governor Evers's order, though responses fell mostly along partisan lines. Less than half of Republican respondents support the measure.
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote for the majority that health secretary Andrea Palm’s order amounted to an emergency rule that she doesn’t have the power to create on her own, and also imposes criminal penalties beyond her powers.
Evers said there’s no avenue to appeal the decision. His administration plans to put together an emergency rule addressing the virus, he said, but the process is so complex that it could be at least two weeks before state health officials can start drafting it. And once it’s finished the administration will have to submit it to legislators, who could block it.“
In the meantime, we’re going to have 72 counties doing their own thing,” Evers said. “I can’t believe there’s a state in the nation with this type of chaos.”
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