Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature declared a major win today when the state’s Supreme Court overturned the governor’s stay-at-home order extension. CNN reported that the court ruled Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration overstepped its authority when it worked alongside the Department of Health Services to extend the order through May 26.
The lawsuit was initially filed last month against Andrea Palm, the department’s secretary-designee, and other health officials. The department issued an extension of the “Safer at Home” emergency order in April, although they also relaxed some restrictions at the time. Along with the extension, they also loosened restrictions on some businesses like public libraries and golf courses.
The Republicans argued that the continuance of the order would result in numerous residents losing their jobs and severe harm to the economy, leaving the state “in shambles.”
“An agency cannot confer on itself the power to dictate the lives of law-abiding individuals as comprehensively as the order does without reaching beyond the executive branch’s authority,” said the justices in the decision made earlier today.
Gov. Evers first requested that Palm issue the order in March. Evers has not yet responded to the court’s latest ruling.
When the Republicans first filed the lawsuit against Palm, Evers criticized the decision, claiming the Republican leaders were “focused entirely on how to get legislative Republicans more power” and “exploiting a global pandemic to further their attempts to undermine the will of the people.”
He continued, saying he felt that the Republicans were forcing his administration to seek permission to enact lifesaving measures for state residents.
On the other side, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Republican Speaker Robin Vos argued that the administration was overreaching and not allowing the people to have a voice in the decision to extend the stay-at-home order.
In a joint statement, they claimed the extension was an example of Evers abusing his power, which led to the political party taking the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Democratic Party suggested the virus would spread and claim many more lives if the stay-at-home order was lifted too soon while the Republicans claimed Evers’ administration was not being entirely truthful. They alleged that the number of infected has decreased.
“Wisconsinites deserve certainty, transparency, and a plan to end the constant stream of executive orders that are eroding both the economy and their liberty even as the state is clearly seeing a decline in COVID infections.”
The article stated that Wisconsin currently has more than 10,900 confirmed cases and over 420 deaths.