The Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out the Gov. Tony Evers administration’s Safer At Home order Wednesday saying his health services secretary-designee Andrea Palm overstepped her authority in extending a statewide shutdown until May 26.
Republicans and some business groups opposed Palm and Evers implementing the Safer At Home extension to May 26 from Evers’ original shutdown expiration order that expired April 24. But the court’s 4-3 ruling Wednesday doesn’t mean an instant reopening of the state’s economy, schools and large events.
The court sent the issue back to the Wisconsin Legislature and the state Department of Health Services with its Evers-appointed secretary Palm to establish new rules for such emergency declarations.
Attorneys for the Wisconsin Legislature argued that the substance of Palm’s order should have been subject to rule-making by legislators. The court majority said the order is “invalid and unenforceable.”
Under the Court’s ruling, the state’s Safer at Home restrictions are no longer in place. Without the state order or new rule in place, responsibility will fall to municipal governments to decide what, if any, restrictions they want to impose in their own communities, said Steve Baas, the top lobbyist for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.emphasis mine
Up until now, Wisconsin has been solidly improving its numbers around increased testing, lowering the infection rate, and a lower mortality rate. Given the five metrics outlined in the Governor’s plan to re-open the state, Wisconsin had met four of them already. It was only a matter of time.
But we’ll see how the numbers shake out from here…or actually 14 days from now and maybe more telling…14 days from May 25th.
And from a statement by Attorney General Josh Kaul and something that we’ve reiterated several times in past posts:
…and Republicans in the legislature still have offered no plan to address the coronavirus.
We’ll see if they can now come through and actually sit down with the governor and his health agency to develop a plan to reopen Wisconsin safely…or if it will be every resident for themselves? Something that they’ve been unwilling or unable to do despite all of their lip service to the contrary.
If the death toll and infection rates start to move in the opposite directions…we have four Supremes and two GOP leaders and certain leaders of the business communities to call out on it.
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.
And from Governor Evers:
“Republican legislators convinced four members of the Supreme Court to throw the state into chaos,” Evers told reporters Wednesday evening. “Republicans control that chaos.”