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14 May, 2020 07:00

‘Unlawful & invalid’: Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down state’s stay-at-home order

‘Unlawful & invalid’: Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down state’s stay-at-home order

Measures purportedly enacted to stop the spread of coronavirus in Wisconsin have been overturned by the state’s Supreme Court, which ruled that the orders violate the law and cannot be enforced.

The state’s highest court issued a 4-3 ruling describing the restrictions as “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.” The decision comes after Republican lawmakers sued Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, after she unilaterally extended the state’s “Safer at Home” emergency order in mid-April. The measures were first implemented in March and were set to expire on May 26.

Wisconsin has already started to ease restrictions, allowing golf courses, public libraries and arts and crafts stores – all initially deemed “non-essential” – to reopen. The ruling appears to nullify the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses. The Tavern League of Wisconsin, a bar and tavern trade association, told its members that it was now legal to open their doors to customers.

The landmark ruling will likely have a ripple effect across the United States, as state lawmakers from coast-to-coast begin to push back against the vast powers claimed by governors in the name of combating Covid-19.

Michigan legislators sued Governor Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month, after she unilaterally extended the state’s state of emergency, which was set to expire on May 1.

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