Wisconsin Supreme Court Overturns Gov. Ever’s Mask Mandate


Wisconsin Supreme Court chambers

Sam Norton, Staff Writer

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently overturned the mask mandate issued by Governor Tony Evers, saying that he exceeded his authority by issuing multiple emergency orders for what was effectively the same emergency concerning Covid-19. According to State Law, governors are permitted to issue health emergencies for 60 days and after that period must seek approval from the Legislature for an extension.

Evers has argued that he may issue new emergencies without the Legislature’s approval because he believes the threat of the pandemic has changed. Senate Majority Devin LeMahieu argues that Evers has repeatedly abused his power. His “repeated abuse of emergency powers and pervasive violation of state statute created chaos and had to be stopped,” LeMahieu said. The ruling “vindicates the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government and will expand freedom and opportunity for the people of Wisconsin,” he continued. 

Freshman Jonah Davis thinks that top-down control of mask-wearing may not be the best solution in slowing the spread of Covid-19. “I agree with the mask mandate being overturned because I believe in freedom and the government forcing Americans to put an ineffective piece of cloth on is definitely not freedom. We should be able to choose what we do and there has been little to no research showing that face masks are effective. In fact, some show the opposite,” he said.

Republican Senator Van Wanggaard also expressed discontent with Ever’s use of his power throughout the pandemic. “This case was never about the nature of the emergency. Good intentions, ‘science’, and fear are not reasons to disobey the law,” he tweeted. “The statute does not grant exceptions, no matter the cause.” 

Junior Sabrina Norton disagrees with the overruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and personally believes the masks are/have been effective in mitigating against the spread of Covid-19. “I do not agree with the Wisconsin supreme courts overturning the mask mandate. Governor Evers, along with many other governors around the United States, had chosen to follow the recommendations of seasoned experts within the centers for disease control by attempting simple cost-effective actions of safety to help protect all citizens both young and old, those with immune issues, and at-risk populations,” she said.

Without statewide rules, local officials will be able to handle the pandemic in a more individualized fashion that suits best what the people in local areas need. Following this decision, it is possible that Evers and GOP lawmakers will work together to come up with a new Covid-19 plan, though not necessarily likely.

Despite the ruling from the Supreme Court, many think that things won’t change as local leaders and businesses may still opt to require masking. “I think in most places, people will still require them because they are worried about the safety of their customers,” junior Ethan Corneliuson said. 

Many have positions on this topic and as the political scene continues to heat up, only time will tell how not only Wisconsin but other areas around the world handles Covid-19.