By Ruth Conniff
The conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns an emergency public health order in the middle of a pandemic — even as new COVID cases rise. Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn acknowledges that the virus is “dangerous” and has “taken far too many lives,” but the important issue, he writes — bolstered by two separate amicus briefs from the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature — is that “the power to end and to refuse to extend a state of emergency resides with the legislature even when the underlying occurrence creating the emergency remains a threat.”
Great for the Legislature. Too bad for you and me.
Wisconsin was on the cusp of finally emerging from the pandemic through our vaccine program, currently ranking first in the nation for getting shots in arms. Public health officials predicted we could reach herd immunity by June. Now, by joining other states that are lifting restrictions too early, we are staring down the barrel of “impending doom,” as CDC director Rochelle Walensky has warned.
But hey, at least the Legislature’s power is protected.