The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down an extension of Gov. Tony Evers’ safer-at-home order Wednesday, ruling that his administration should have worked with the Legislature through the emergency rulemaking process.
“We have declared that emergency order 28 is invalid and therefore, unenforceable,” wrote Chief Justice Patience Roggensack.
Conservative justices Rebecca Bradley, Daniel Kelly and Annette Ziegler sided with Roggensack in the 4-3 decision.
Brian Hagedorn, who previously served as Gov. Scott Walker’s chief legal counsel, joined with the court’s liberals Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet.
The justices granted a six-day stay, so Evers’ safer-at-home order remains in effect until May 20.
During oral arguments last week, Colin Roth, assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice, said the Legislature granted the Department of Health Services power to “do whatever is necessary to combat a novel, deadly communicable disease like the one we’re facing.”
Roth said last week that if the court blocked the safer-at-home order, it would be “absolutely devastating and extraordinarily unwise.”
As of Wednesday, the state had met five of six criteria to move out of the safer-at-home order and into phase one of Evers’ Badger Bounce Back Plan.
DHS officials reported 291 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 10,902 cases. There have been 421 deaths, an increase of three from Tuesday.