During oral arguments on Tuesday over a lawsuit filed by Wisconsin GOP legislators to bar the state from extending Governor Tony Evers’ stay-at-home orders, a conservative judge called the decision to implement stay-at-home orders “the very definition of tyranny.”
“The 90 minutes of argument, heard remotely by video conference, came after Evers, a Democrat, and leaders from both parties in the Legislature met for the first time to discuss a bipartisan response to the pandemic, which through Tuesday afternoon had killed 353 Wisconsin residents and sickened more than 8,500,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Evers first issued his stay-at-home order on March 24, then extended it to April 16 to expire on May 26.
State Assistant Attorney General Colin Roth stated that “people will die” if the extension order were to be repealed and nothing replaced it, according to The Hill. That prompted Judge Rebecca Bradley to counter, “My question for you is, 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 continued, “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?”
Roth replied that statutes existed in state law giving power to the Department of Health Services “to do whatever is necessary to combat a novel, deadly, communicable disease like the one we’re facing today.” The secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is Andrea Palm.
The Wisconsin State Journal explained, “The court will decide two issues: whether Palm violated state law governing the issuance of emergency rules by ordering the extension of ‘safer at home,’ and whether the order exceeded the authority DHS has under state law by closing nonessential businesses, ordering state residents to stay at home and forbidding nonessential travel.”
The GOP legislature’s request to hold the enforcement of the suspension for six days so DHS could create a new emergency rule with the legislature’s help is supported by “Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, hunting and fishing groups, and the Wisconsin Tavern League, among others,” the Wisconsin State Journal noted.
On Saturday, as a demonstration was held outside Brookfield Square Mall to protest Wisconsin’s stay-at-home orders, Keith Best of the Republican Party of Waukesha County stated, “Well, Wisconsin needs to open up. there are too many small businesses that are going to be out of business if we don’t open up … So many other states are opening up way before we are, just in the Midwest alone. Gov. Evers should open up now, gradually in the state, especially areas in the north and have Dane County and Milwaukee County open up last.”
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