The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s coronavirus lockdown order on Wednesday in a 4-3 majority decision by the high court – a ‘first of its kind’ crackdown on executive power in the state, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In the majority decision, the court found that Secretary-Designee of Health Services Andrea Palm, along with Governor Tony Evers, did not a follow a process known as “rulemaking” which would have giving state lawmakers veto power when the agency issued new regulations like the stay-at-home order.
In mid-April, Gov. Evers, Palm and state health officials made the executive decision to extend the order until at least May 26 and were subsequently met with frustrated protests.
The high court further ruled that without legislative review, “an unelected official could create law applicable to all people during the course of COVID-19 and subject people to imprisonment when they disobeyed her (Palm’s) order,” four conservative judges wrote in their majority decision.
As news of the court’s decision broke, there were already reports of bars across the state opening their doors to patrons.
In the court’s dissenting opinion, one judge called the decision “one of the most blatant examples of judicial activism in this court’s history” and that “it will be Wisconsinites who pay the price,” found on page 90 of the official ruling.
According to Wisconsin’s public health department, there have been just under 11,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 421 reported deaths.
Gov. Evers appeared on CNN shortly after the high court’s decision and decried the ruling saying that it would lead to coronavirus “spikes across the state” and statewide chaos.
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