Amnon Free Press
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck a blow to Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate Wednesday. The court ruled 4-3 that Evers violated state law by issuing multiple emergency orders without legislative approval, which extended the mask mandate for months after his initial 60-day mandate expired.
Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote the opinion for the majority, stating, “the question, in this case, is not whether the governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not.” One member of the court’s three-justice liberal minority, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley lamented, “this is no run-of-the-mill case.”
“We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that so far has claimed the lives of over a half million people in his country. And with the stakes so high, the majority not only arrives at erroneous conclusions, but it also obscures the consequence of its decision” wrote Bradley. “Unfortunately, the ultimate consequence of the majority’s decision is that it places yet another roadblock to an effective governmental response to COVID-19.”
Evers argued he could issue health emergencies because of the ever-changing nature of the global pandemic. Evers’ first mask mandate took effect in August, and extended it four times since, most recently on February 4th immediately after Republicans repealed it. Republican lawmakers have applauded the Supreme Court’s decision. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu believes Evers abused his power and the decision affirms the separation of powers between legislative and executive branches.
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