The Wisconsin Supreme Court delivered a massive decision on Wednesday to strike down the state’s stay-at-home order.
In a 4-3 ruling, the Republican-controlled state Supreme Court held that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration overstepped its authority when it extended the order through the end of May.
According to Fox News, the court ruled four to three in a case brought forth by Republican lawmakers that sought to block the order issued last month by Evers’ top health secretary, Andrea Palm.
All future lockdown orders must go through the legislature, the ruling said.
Fox News reports:
Evers issued a stay-at-home order in March which was supposed to expire April 24. But the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm, an Evers appointee, extended it to May 26.
Republicans asked the Supreme Court on April 21 to block the extension, arguing that it amounts to an administrative rule, which requires legislative approval.
Evers’ administration argued that state law clearly gives the executive branch broad authority to enact emergency measures to control communicable diseases. Attorney General Josh Kaul also noted that Evers’ order was similar to that in at least 42 other states and has saved many lives.
Writing the opinion for the majority, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack declared that Evers draconian lockdown was similar to an emergency rule that Palm does not have the power to enact unilaterally.
The order creates criminal penalties that Palm has no authority to create, she added.
“Rule-making exists precisely to ensure that kind of controlling, subjective judgment asserted by one unelected official, Palm, is not imposed in Wisconsin,” Roggensack wrote.
Two top Republicans in the state, Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, released a statement following the ruling and called on Evers to work with them to slowly reopen businesses while also being safe.
“Now that the decision has been rendered, we are confident Wisconsin citizens are up to the task of fighting the virus as we enter a new phase… Wisconsin now joins multiple states that don’t have extensive ‘stay at home orders’ but can continue to follow good practices of social distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizer usage, and telecommuting. This order does not promote people to act in a way that they believe endangers their health,” the statement said.
During oral arguments last week, Justice Rebecca Bradley suggested Palm’s decision to extend the order without legislative input amounts to tyranny.
During oral arguments last week, Justice Rebecca Bradley suggested Palm’s decision to extend the order without legislative input amounts to tyranny, according to WKOW.
“I think there is a problem with the legislature giving away this much power to an un-elected cabinet secretary,” said Bradley. “The people never consented to a single individual having that kind of power.”
This is the second time Evers has suffered a massive defeat in the past month.
Back in April, Evers signed an executive order to postpone the state’s primary election absentee ballot deadline.
However, both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Wisconsin State Supreme Court have stepped in to deliver a last-minute ruling to stop Democrats from changing the primary election rules.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Ever’s executive order to postpone the primary election until June, but Republicans immediately took it to court and won.
Then, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned another lower court ruling that gave voters six more days to hand in their absentee ballots.