Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Mask Mandate

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion




The Wisconsin Supreme Court has struck down a mask mandate put in place by Democrat Gov. Tony Evers.

In a crucial 4-3 ruling, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that Evers mandate exceeded his authority.

The decision comes after the state’s legislature voted to repeal the mask mandate in February.

Evers then reinstated the mandate via executive order.

The court ruled on Wednesday that Evers was only able to issue public health emergencies for just 60 days, to which any decisions would need legislative approval.

“The question, in this case, is not whether the governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not,” Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote, according to The Associated Press.

Republican lawmakers applauded the ruling. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said in a statement that Evers abused his power and the court’s decision affirms the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

“The governor’s repeated abuse of emergency powers and pervasive violation of state statute created a state of chaos and had to be stopped,” LeMahieu said.

Liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who voted for the mandate’s implementation, wrote that the decision would put lives at risk throughout the state.

“This is no run-of-the-mill case,” she wrote.”We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that so far has claimed the lives of over a half million people in this country. And with the stakes so high, the majority not only arrives at erroneous conclusions, but it also obscures the consequence of its decision. Unfortunately, the ultimate consequence of the majority’s decision is that it places yet another roadblock to an effective governmental response to COVID-19,” she added.This is the second time the Conservative-controlled state Supreme Court has struck down orders from Evers.

Back in May, the court struck down Evers’ stay-at-home order, finding that his health secretary lacked the authority to issue such an order.

Last November, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected many of the governor’s strictest rules.

The ruling came in the form of a 4–3 decision that invalidated restrictions on business and social gatherings.

Evers melted down at the time and accused the GOP of having “no plan” and asserting that there is “no question among anybody that people are going to get sick” as a result of the Republican-led push against his policies.

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“Republicans own that chaos,” he declared.

Meanwhile, Evers has made COVID-19 restrictions a recurring theme of his administration, taking time earlier this week to tout his radical response.

The governor insisted: “Wisconsin, this is serious. The crisis is urgent. It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over — it’s just not safe. And it might not be safe for a while yet. So please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and play dates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead.”