Wisconsin Supreme Court reopens state, overruling governor

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Governor Tony Evers' stay-at-home order, siding with the state's Republican-led legislature (https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/13/politics/wisconsin-supreme-court-strikes-down-stay-at-home-order/index.html). Gov. Evans and the states Department of Health Services had extended the order until May 26, however, the Court voted 4-3, calling the order "unlawful" and "unenforceable". This makes Wisconsin the 25th state that has reopened since April 26.

As it currently stands, Wisconsin has recorded approximately 11,000 COVID-19 cases with 421 deaths. Republicans had filed the lawsuit back on April 21, arguing that the stay-at-home order would end up damaging the state more than the virus has. Wisconsin is only the fifth Democrat led state to begin reopening, joining Montana, Colorado, Rhode Island, and Kansas. Republican led states Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Arkansas never issued stay-at-home orders.

While Wisconsin's May 26 deadline ranked as one of the later orders, it was still eclipsed by 10 other states including Michigan (May 28) and Virginia (June 10). California, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Oregon have set indefinite time limits on their stay-at-home orders, however, Oregon recently established guidelines for reopening that will begin tomorrow (May 15).

This court case sets a precedent as a handful of other state legislatures have also sued their respective governors over stay-at-home orders including Michigan and Maryland. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer threatened to extend state orders past the May 28 deadline if citizens continued to protest in the state's capital, potentially jeopardizing her chances with the Michigan Supreme Court even further. Could we see more state governments go this route as checks and balances are thrown to the wayside in order to maintain a state of emergency and expanded executive authority?

For more information on the status of each state's lockdown check out: https://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=Status_of_lockdown_and_stay-at-home_orders_in_response_to_the_coronavirus_(COVID-19)_pandemic,_2020&fbclid=IwAR1csn5E625lnlzHCYjkMd9shl_HScKS-Rwsx-q_UqDkQN-pyQPxmiBeCBc

Image Credit: AP/Andy Manis

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