In a 4-3 ruling (pdf) Wednesday, the state court declared the Democrat governor’s administration lacks the power to issue the orders, coming two weeks after the court struck down the state’s mask mandate.
The statewide capacity limit restrictions have not been in place in Wisconsin since October of last year when the size of indoor public gatherings was restricted to 25 percent of a building’s or room’s occupancy. The order was raised and re-applied many times by the state government.
The Supreme Court ordered that Evers and other state officials require the approval of the Wisconsin Legislature.
The suit was brought by the Mix-Up Bar in Amery as well as Pro-Life Wisconsin.
Justice Pat Roggensack wrote the opinion for the majority, and he was followed by fellow conservative Justices Anette Ziegler and Rebecca Bradley. Justice Brian Hagedorn filed a consenting view for the majority, while Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, and Jill Karofksy—considered liberals—filed a dissenting view.
“This case arises because [State Health Secretary Andrea Palm] issued another order doing exactly what this court said she may not do: limit public gatherings by statewide order without promulgating a rule,” Roggensack wrote in the Wednesday ruling. “Palm hopes to achieve a different outcome this time by seizing on some of the vulnerabilities in last term’s decision. To be sure, the court’s rationale in Palm was, in some respects, incomplete.”
Misha Tseytlin, attorney for the Mix-Up Bar and its owner, said in an email that the goal of Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, who is also a Democrat, was to have the court issue “a blank check to devastate any business, at a moment’s notice.” He announced the ruling showed that a “small, family-owned restaurant like the Mix Up can stand up to a powerful Governor and Attorney General and win when the law is on its side.”
Bradley, separately, in her dissent, stated Evers should not have to “go through the cumbersome rulemaking process” when issuing an emergency order.
The court’s ruling is the third time that the Wisconsin Supreme Court found an order circulated by Evers’ administration was illegal. Other than striking down a mask mandate, the Supreme Court struck down the Wisconsin stay-at-home order following a legal challenge filed by Republicans in the state legislature.
COVID-19 is the virus caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus.