Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has overturned the state’s “Safer at Home” orders and has now mandated that all future statewide regulations be approved by the legislature’s rule making committee before implementation. On Wednesday, the court ruled to strike down the orders by a 4-3 vote, with conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn dissenting.
The legal challenge was brought by Republican state lawmakers trying to challenge the state lockdown and replace it with a more localized approach. The court decided that Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Secretary Andrea Palm had broken the law when she prohibited Wisconsin residents from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons on April 16th. The order was ruled to be “unlawful, invalid and unenforceable.” The restrictions had been set to expire on May 26th.
The ruling produced mixed responses throughout Wisconsin. The Tavern League of Wisconsin published the following tweet, “In a 4-3 ruling the State Supreme Court found the Emergency Orders issued by Secretary Palm as unlawful, invalid and unenforceable. The result of this decision is business can open immediately.”
The effectiveness of reopening will be judged by the resulting impact on covid-19 deaths and unemployment. Should the health and economic crisis escalate after states reopen, there will be a political price to pay.