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State Supreme Court dismisses second stay-at-home order lawsuit

The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the second lawsuit over Gov. Tony Evers’ overturned coronavirus stay-at-home emergency order on Wednesday.

The high court struck down the order in a 4-3 ruling on May 13, finding it “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.” After the decision, the petitioners in the second lawsuit, Fabick v. Palm, asked the court to refrain from dismissing the matter in a Notice of Recent Events filed on May 15.

The lawsuit, filed by two Waukesha County residents, accused the Department of Health Services’ extended safer-at-home order of infringing on the petitioners’ constitutional rights to freedom of worship, speech and assembly, along with the right to travel.

The state Supreme Court deemed the matter moot on Wednesday, citing the invalidation of the emergency order and DHS secretary Andrea Palm’s withdrawn statement of scope for a new emergency rule related to COVID-19.

“Various local governments have promulgated their own orders and directives related to COVID-19, some of which have now been withdrawn or revised,” the order said. “These intervening events have altered the essential facts upon which the petition was predicated.”

The battle over local orders continues at the federal level. Seventeen Wisconsin residents filed a lawsuit in federal court last week challenging the local orders that took effect after the state Supreme Court’s decision.

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