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Brief: Declare Evers’ orders ‘void and unenforceable’

By M.D, Kittle

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers has trampled on the constitution’s separation of powers with his latest power grab, the Legislature’s Republican leaders charge in a brief filed Wednesday with the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The amicus — or friend of the court – brief supports a petition sought by Oconomowoc businessman Jeré Fabick asking the court to slap an injunction on Evers’ sixth emergency declaration and accompanying statewide mask mandate. The lawmakers want the court declare Evers’ orders “void and unenforceable.”

Last Thursday, just minutes after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a joint resolution ending Evers’ never-ending emergency orders, the governor ignored the will of the First Branch and issued another order and mask mandate.

“If there was any doubt as to whether the Governor believed there were limits on his powers under this statute, it evaporated on February 4, when he redeclared an emergency the same day the Legislature voted to revoke that declaration. (Executive Order #105),” the amicus brief, filed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg).

The state Supreme Court last year agreed to take Fabick’s complaint alleging the governor abused his executive powers in continuing to issue the health orders. Court watchers expect a ruling to come any day.

As the lawsuit alleges, Evers has issued six emergency order declarations. All but one were unlawful because the Legislature never approved an extension of the state emergency declaration as required under Wisconsin Statute 323.10. Evers’ emergency orders, beginning in late July, have come with a statewide mandate requiring Wisconsinites to wear a face covering in public.

The governor has insisted he ordered the mandate to stop the spread of COVID-19, but he has failed to follow state law in doing so. Evers was within his rights to issue his first emergency order when the pandemic first hit in March. But after 60 days he needed to seek the Legislature’s approval to extend the emergency declaration. Evers has shown time after time that he is not interested in working with his opponents in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down an extended statewide lockdown carried out by Evers’ state Department of Health Services because the administration failed to seek the Legislature’s input. Even after conceding defeat, the governor and members of his staff secretly taped their discussions with Republican legislative leaders in a session to come up with a state-wide response to the pandemic.

Evers subsequently began issuing new orders, effectively extending the same order in violation of state law. Fabick’s lawsuit challenges the governor’s circumvention of the law.

The governor insists the 60-day limit doesn’t prevent him from issuing another declaration for the same underlying emergency “as facts on the ground develop.” As the Republican leaders’ brief notes, the phrase is “open to limitless interpretation that renders the statute’s 60-day time period meaningless.”

And if the governor can simply disregard the Legislature’s resolution and redeclare a state of emergency, there is no safeguard from the executive branch taking and keeping powers that do not belong to it.

“Wisconsin law does not allow the Governor to declare indefinite emergencies or reissue a state of emergency declarations after the Legislature’s revocation,” the brief states. “The Legislature respectfully requests that this Court rule in Petitioner’s favor and declare the Orders void and unenforceable.”

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4 thoughts on “Brief: Declare Evers’ orders ‘void and unenforceable’

  • Being praised for having a multi-faceted personalty normally does not include being two-faced but with Evers it’s beginning to look like “The Three Faces of Eve” (1957 movie) may have a sequel. Insipid, shallow bureaucrats like Evers, when offered unfettered power, often become addicts, unable to turn off the tap. An intervention is needed. The Supreme Court should slap his hands sharply to deter further overstepping authority and the legislature should strengthen its own authority to prevent it. We’ve been playing this petty destructive game far too long.

  • So when will the politicians, including those in the public health group ever decide mask wearing etc. is ridiculous. What is wrong with wear one if you want, but don’t bully and force others ???

  • Thank you for the news – political stuff. Politics is so fricking corrupt – just finished reading the State Historical Society publication where there is an article about the 1918 Spanish Flu and Wisconsin. Very interesting, but too bad the media is so hateful of truth. This whole thing has the stink of the ccp – ( and the University of Wisconsin Madison is full of chinese. Please don’t think I am xenophobic or racist or whatever is politically correct to say. After learning about the harvesting of organs – recent Epoch Times article – from Falun Dafa practitioners while alive – to sell to those who can pay for body parts – hmmmm there is plenty of money in Madison with the medical college and the VA. Seeing the videos of ballot dropping – grrrrrrr. the dems have a big “network” of likeminded people – I used to be one of them. The violence seen in places and the censorship that has been occurring online. Unfortunately, it permeates and this mask mandate is ridiculous. Where/who is Evers getting his marching orders?

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