The state of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, struck down the mask mandate.
The majority decision states in part, “After receiving briefing on these demands, we conclude that the state of emergency declared in Executive Order #105 exceeded the Governor’s powers and is thus unlawful.”
“As a result, we declare that Executive Orders #82 and #90—both of which declare a public health emergency in response to COVID-19—were unconstitutional under Wisconsin Statute 323.10.”
According to NBC4, the majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Patience Roggensack. Justices Brian Hagedorn, Annette Ziegler, and Rebecca Bradley accompanied her. The dissenting opinion was written by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who was joined by Justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky.”
The legal rationale is very optimistic. It didn’t consider whether the masks were effective (a recent CDC study found that they were only marginally effective), but rather whether the acts were legal.
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The majority decision says, “The issue in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully.” “We’ve come to the conclusion that he didn’t.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has consistently renewed the mask mandate. The court’s decision would not prevent municipal governments or corporations from enforcing mask laws, which is a separate legal issue.
It’s long past time for the courts to restore the rule of law and uphold Americans’ civil rights. “Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does the Constitution,” Texas judge John Barker famously retorted earlier this year.
When it comes to unconstitutional executive orders, Wisconsin’s decision demonstrates that a state court will uphold the rule of law. That should have occurred from the start of the pandemic, and certainly before the 2020 elections.