MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – A new Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is being sworn in on August 1 and it could give Governor Tony Evers’ administration the opportunity to try and enact a statewide mask order.
Gov. Evers has previously said that a mask mandate is unlike because the state Supreme Court struck down the Safer at Home order in a 4-3 ruling with conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn siding with two liberal justices.
When liberal-backed Jill Karofsky is sworn in as the new justice on Saturday, August 1, the conservative majority on the court will shift from 5-2 to 4-3.
“Any lawyer for the governor who’s reading the old supreme court decision is thinking, ‘what can we do that is somehow not perceived as tyranny?’” UWM Professor Mordecai Lee said in an interview with WFRV affiliate WDJT.
Lee points out that the Safer at Home order was struck down focusing on the powers of DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm’s powers but not the governor’s powers.
“The key is how do you thread the needle, how do you do it legally and for the Supreme Court to say ‘this is different from last time.’”
WDJT reports that during a Wednesday event, Senator Tammy Baldwin stated that Gov. Evers should consider an attempt at putting in place a state-wide mask mandate.
Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois have already enacted statewide mandates, as have Ohio and Indiana. Most major retailers, like Walmart and Target, recently mandated the use of face coverings in their stores.
Many of Wisconsin’s major cities – Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Madison – have city-wide mask mandates.