The Supreme Court of the state of Wisconsin has dealt a blow to the mask mandate in a 4-3 decision.
“After receiving briefing on these requests, we conclude that the state of emergency proclaimed in Executive Order #105 exceeded the Governor’s powers and is therefore unlawful,” the majority decision reads in part.
“Therefore, we declare that Executive Orders #82 and #90——both of which declare a public health emergency in response to COVID-19——were unlawful under Wis. Stat. § 323.10.”
“Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote the majority opinion,” NBC4 reported. “She was joined by Justices Brian Hagedorn, Annette Ziegler, and Rebecca Bradley. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote the dissenting opinion, and was joined by Justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky.”
The legal reasoning is highly encouraging. It did not weigh whether or not the masks ‘work’ (a recent CDC study showed their effect is marginal at best), but whether or not the actions were legal.
“The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully,” the majority decision reads. “We conclude he did not.”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had repeatedly has renewed the mask mandate since the COVID-19 outbreak. The court ruling will not constrain the local communities or businesses from implementing mask mandates, which is a separate legal issue.
It is well past time that the courts begin restoring the rule of law and standing up for Americans’ civil rights. Earlier this year, Texas judge John Barker issued the famous retort: “Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution.”
Wisconsin’s ruling shows that a state court can uphold the rule of law when it comes to unconstitutional executive orders. That should have happened during the pandemic from the very start, as well prior to the 2020 elections.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.