The Wisconsin Supreme Court delivered a blow to Democrat Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) by striking down his statewide mask mandate; the court concluded that Evers overstepped his executive authority by authorizing a renewal of the mandate unilaterally.
Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote that the court believes that Evers did not act in compliance of the law by issuing mandates that exceed his authority as governor.
"The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not."
The ruling eliminates the statewide face mask mandate.— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) March 31, 2021
Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote "The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not."— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) March 31, 2021
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, one of three justices in the minority on the court, argued that wide-reaching mandates fall within the governor's power to protect citizens.
“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 wrote in a dissenting opinion to Wednesday's ruling.
Wednesday’s ruling is not the first setback for Evers regarding COVID restrictions. In May, the court struck down the governor’s “safer at home” edict, ruling that he did not have the power to issue such an executive order.