|Wisconsin Supreme Court invalidates state's COVID-19 stay-at-home order|
Steve Gorman, Sharon Bernstein(Reuters)
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down a statewide coronavirus stay-at-home order on Wednesday, siding with a legal challenge from Republican lawmakers who said the state’s top public health official exceeded her authority by imposing the restrictions.
While lockdown orders meant to quell the pandemic have been challenged in court in several states, the decision in Wisconsin marked the first such lawsuit to succeed in a larger political debate over social distancing that has grown increasingly partisan.
At stake in Wisconsin was a “Safer at Home” order that had been extended through May 26 by the state’s secretary for the Department of Health Services, Andrea Palm, acting at the direction of Governor Tony Evers.
The court ruled that while Evers, a first-term Democrat, possesses emergency powers as governor, the stay-at-home directive was effectively imposed by Palm, whose discretion as a political appointee is more limited.
“We further conclude that Palm’s order confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel and closing businesses exceeded the statutory authority ... upon which Palm claims to rely,” the court said...