MADISON – The Wisconsin Supreme Court tossed out a second challenge to Gov. Tony Evers’ response to the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday, two weeks after ruling against the Democratic governor.
Without dissent, the seven justices declined to accept a new challenge to the administration’s stay-at-home order because they had already thrown it out in the earlier case.
“This matter has become moot,” the justices wrote in the unsigned opinion.
The court two weeks ago struck down the administration’s order on a 4-3 vote, with the majority finding Evers’ team had to submit his plan to the Republican-controlled Legislature to put such a far-reaching policy in place. That lawsuit was brought by GOP lawmakers.
Because of that earlier ruling, the court decided Wednesday it would not accept a second challenge to the Evers policy that was brought by a Republican donor who maintains Evers’ order interfered with his constitutional rights.
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Jeré Fabick and Larry Chapman asked the Supreme Court to find that Evers’ limits on travel and gatherings violate their freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Fabick is president of Caterpillar equipment dealer Fabick Cat, a frequent Republican donor and a policy adviser at the conservative Heartland Institute. In his court filing, he wrote he would have attended a protest at the Capitol that drew about 1,500 people but didn’t because of Evers’ limits on nonessential travel.
Chapman is a member of Lakewood Baptist Church in Pewaukee, which stopped holding in-person services because of Evers’ orders.
As with the suit brought by Republican lawmakers, Fabick and Chapman took their case directly to the state Supreme Court and asked the justices to rule before a circuit judge considered the matter.
Contact Patrick Marley at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.
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