Wisconsin's conservative Supreme Court strikes down governor's coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Wisconsin's conservative Supreme Court strikes down governor's coronavirus stay-at-home orders
Governor-elect Tony Evers, D- Wis., joins President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, in the Cabinet Room of the White House Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, during a discussion with Governors-Elect from around the nation. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to strike down Gov. Tony Evers stay-at-home order on Wednesday. The conservative-controlled court voted 4-3, with four conservative judges writing the ruling you can read here. Those judges, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, Justices Rebecca Bradley, Daniel Kelly, and Annette Ziegler, argued around Gov. Tony Evers’ Emergency Order and instead went at Secretary-Designee of the Department of Health Services Andrea Palm.


The court—who heard oral arguments remotely due to this virus thing—found that “Palm's order confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel and closing businesses exceeded the statutory authority of Wis. Stat. §252.02.” At the same time, the court acknowledges that Gov. Evers did declare an emergency order, but they were not going to address that.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that this is the first time a statewide order of its kind has ever been struck down “by a court of last resort.” Over 400 people have died from COVID-19 in Wisconsin since March. Republican lawmakers were responsible for the lawsuit, and, being in control of the state’s legislature, have now been handed partial control over the state’s response to the pandemic.

The paper also reports that recent polling by Marquette University Law School show that most Wisconsinites support Gov. Evers’ stay-at-home order, and more than half trust the Governor to make decisions versus the measly 33% that trusted the Republican-controlled legislature.

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