The Wisconsin State Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ ‘stay-at-home’ order in a 4-3 decision Wednesday, putting Wisconsin’s coronavirus response plan in the hands of the Legislature.
The 4-3 decision was written by four of the conservatives on the court: Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justices Rebecca Bradley, Daniel Kelly and Annette Ziegler.
One conservative, Brian Hagedorn, joined the two liberal justices — Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet — in dissent.
Pressure from Republicans and the business community has been on Evers since he first issued the order on March 25.
Originally scheduled to expire on April 24, Evers extended the order until May 26 with some restrictions already beginning to relax. Republican legislators filed a lawsuit in April challenging the order, arguing Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm exceeded her powers by extending the order.
The ruling now means the new COVID-19 rules that will replace the ‘stay-at-home’ order will go through the state’s administrative rules process, which the Evers administration said is “complicated [and] time-consuming” and could take 20 or more days to implement.
Now, Evers and the Republican Legislature will have to work together on a response plan quickly, otherwise decisions could be left up to individual counties.
For instance, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway just announced on Twitter that Evers’ ‘safer-at-home’ guidelines will stay in place in Madison and Dane County until May 26.
With 10,902 positive test results in Wisconsin and over 100,000 negative results, so far the outbreak has killed 421 in the state in two months, according to the Department of Health Services.