13 May 2020
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COVID: First of kind Wisconsin Supreme Court decision strikes down state’s stay-at-home order by vote of 4 to 3
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued his stay-at-home order for nonessential businesses on March 18. On April 16, he extended the order until May 26. Reports say that the governor declined to negotiate with legislators two weeks ago on a compromise to the terms of the restrictive order, preferring to see what the court decided.
It was a winner-take-all decision. This evening, that order was invalidated and the court refused the state’s request for a six-day stay to allow GOP lawmakers and the governors to work out new rules. As a result, all state restrictions are now removed on social gatherings or business.
After a 90-minute online video conference hearing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week, the court today issued a decision striking down the governor’s order.
The court ruled that the government exceeded the statutory authority granted during an emergency, characterizing the order as “confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel and closing businesses.”
Justice Rebecca Bradley was one of the concurring justices. During oral arguments last week, she asked the attorneys defending Andrea Palm, Wisconsin’s top health official the following question:
Isn’t it the very definition of tyranny for one person to order people to be imprisoned for going to work, among other ordinarily lawful activities?
The state argued that the legislature gave the health department officials such power, and said people will die if the court strikes down the order. CONTINUE READING →