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Law And Logic Prevail With Wisconsin Mask Mandate

October 12, 2020

Today was one of those examples when our checks and balances came into play concerning the role of government during a public health emergency. The ability of those who disagree had their opportunity to weigh in and the legal process produced a ruling. In a larger sense, everyone came out as a winner as the process played out in a democratic fashion.

What this blogger hoped for and thought would be the outcome, based on state law, occurred when St. Croix County Judge Michael Waterman rejected arguments from Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty concerning the mask mandate put in place by Governor Tony Evers. The group was encouraged by the Republicans in the legislature who have failed to address the pandemic in their official capacity.

Conservatives have tried to argue that Evers exceeded his authority in issuing the mask mandate. But the judge made it clear that it was the Republicans in the statehouse who have tried to dodge any responsibility for the health needs of the citizenry who are front and center in this matter.

Waterman made it clear it is the Legislature who has the power to terminate Evers’ order. But they have not acted in any fashion on the matter, so no one should be looking for the courts to do the work of those who are elected to the legislative branch. But the GOP knows that the mask mandate is popular in the state. And they also know how ironic it is for them to seek a court answer…given they carp about ‘activist judges’.

The judge made it clear when he wrote, “The 60-day limit provides an important check against run-away executive power, but it does not prevent the governor from issuing a new executive order when the emergency conditions continue to exist,”

There is no doubt about the vital need to get the virus under control given the growing COVID caseloads in Wisconsin, the overwhelming number of patients in hospitals, and the continuing detrimental economic impact. Any governor would be derelict in the duties of the office to not take proactive measures to limit the pandemic.

From a purely partisan perspective with three weeks until the elections it needs to be noted from this blogger’s desk that things look tough for the Republicans. They have endorsed the actions of the 17-year-old White vigilante from out-of-state with an AR-15 who shot and killed on a city street while at the same time they are working to undermine a mask mandate to stem a relentless pandemic. They are playing a very bad hand heading into the election. Conservatives have proven not to have morals, law, or science on their side.

And so it goes.

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