St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman heard arguments Monday, Oct. 5, for a lawsuit challenging Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 emergency declarations, putting in jeopardy the statewide mask mandate. A ruling had not been made as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed for an immediate injunction Sept. 28 in a lawsuit in Polk County to block the Democratic governor’s July 30 emergency declaration and Sept. 22 extension. Polk County judges recused themselves from the case, sending it to St. Croix County. The lawsuit was originally filed in August on behalf of three Wisconsinites challenging Evers’ power to issue multiple executive orders for the same crisis without approval from the Legislature.
“This motion for an immediate injunction is a recognition that the executive branch in Wisconsin is, thus far, completely undeterred by the constraints of state law and must be reined in,” WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said in a news release.
Evers extended the statewide mask mandate and public health emergency declaration for 60 days in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases driven largely by college-aged adults. Earlier this year the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the administration’s Safer-at-Home order following a lawsuit brought by the GOP-controlled state Legislature.