On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ lockdown order, “marking the first time a statewide order of its kind has been knocked down by a court of last resort,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Tony Evers’ order to stay home in a 4-3 decision,” reporter Molly Beck broke Wednesday evening.
BREAKING: Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Tony Evers' order to stay home in a 4-3 decision.
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) May 13, 2020
“The state’s highest court sided with Republican lawmakers Wednesday in a decision that curbed the Evers administration’s power to act unilaterally during public health emergencies,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report outlined. “The 4-3 decision was written by four of the court’s conservatives — Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justices Rebecca Bradley, Daniel Kelly and Annette Ziegler. The court’s fifth conservative, Brian Hagedorn, wrote a dissent joined by the court’s two liberals, Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet.”
“Without legislative review, ‘an unelected official could create law applicable to all people during the course of COVID-19 and subject people to imprisonment when they disobeyed her order,'” wrote the majority, according to the outlet.
The ruling means Evers’ lockdown order is effectively moot. Now, legislation will have to actually be passed before Wisconsin residents can have their freedoms curtailed statewide in the name of “slowing the spread” of the virus.
And, still, local officials can implement policies as they see fit within the state: “With no COVID-19 policies in place, bars, restaurants, and concert halls are allowed to reopen — unless local officials implement their own restrictions,” the report noted.
Republican State Sen. Dan Feyen said in a statement that state officials will develop a reopening plan, while Wisconsin residents will engage in “good old-fashioned common sense and personal responsibility.”
“This decision will undoubtedly go down as one of the most blatant examples of judicial activism in this court’s history. And it will be Wisconsinites who pay the price,” said a dissent from Dallet, a liberal justice on court.
Legal cases are expected to continue to emerge as the spread of COVID-19 has been considerably slowed and lockdown orders in many areas are yet to loosen in any substantive way.
On Tuesday, for example, a judge denied an order from Michigan’s left-wing Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office ordering 77-year-old barber Karl Manke to close his shop, as reported by The Daily Wire.
David A. Kallman, the barber’s attorney, confirmed to Michigan Live that Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart turned down a complaint by the office of the Attorney General to obtain a temporary restraining order against the business.
Manke has been issued two citations and could face up to 90 days behind bars and/or a $500 fine for reopening last week. “The next step now would depend on if the (Attorney General) appeals or not,” Kallman said, Michigan Live reported. “I don’t know if they’re going to, but for our point of view, the next step is two criminal charges pending against him in district court for misdemeanors.”
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