State Supreme Court Rules Wisconsin Governor Can’t Limit Restaurant Capacity During CCP Virus Pandemic
BY JACK PHILLIPS April 14, 2021 Updated: April 14, 2021biggersmaller Print
The Wisconsin state Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Tony Evers’ executive orders that reduced capacity on restaurants, bars, and other businesses due to the CCP virus pandemic.
In a 4-3 ruling (pdf) Wednesday, the state court said the Democrat governor’s administration lacks authority to issue the orders, coming two weeks after the court struck down the state’s mask mandate.
The statewide capacity limit restrictions have not been in place in Wisconsin since October of last year when the size of indoor public gatherings was limited to 25 percent of a building’s or room’s occupancy. The order was lifted and re-applied several times by the state government.
The Supreme Court ruled that Evers and other state officials need the approval of the Wisconsin Legislature.
The suit was brought by the Mix-Up Bar in Amery as well as Pro-Life Wisconsin.
Justice Pat Roggensack wrote the opinion for the majority, and he was joined by fellow conservative Justices Anette Ziegler and Rebecca Bradley. Justice Brian Hagedorn filed a consenting opinion for the majority, while Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, and Jill Karofksy—considered liberals—filed a dissenting opinion.
“This case arises because [State Health Secretary Andrea Palm] issued another order doing exactly what this court said she may not do: limit public gatherings by statewide order without promulgating a rule,” Roggensack wrote in the Wednesday ruling. “Palm hopes to achieve a different outcome this time by seizing on some of the vulnerabilities in last term’s decision. To be sure, the court’s rationale in Palm was, in some respects, incomplete.”
Misha Tseytlin, attorney for the Mix-Up Bar and its owner, said in an email that the goal of Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, who is also a Democrat, was to have the court issue “a blank check to devastate any business, at a moment’s notice.” He said the ruling showed that a “small, family-owned restaurant like the Mix Up can stand up to a powerful Governor and Attorney General and win when the law is on its side.”
Bradley, separately, in her dissent, said Evers should not have to “go through the cumbersome rulemaking process” when issuing an emergency order.
The court’s ruling is the third time that the Wisconsin Supreme Court found an order issued by Evers’ administration was unlawful. Other than striking down a mask mandate, the Supreme Court struck down the Wisconsin stay-at-home order following a legal challenge filed by Republicans in the state legislature.
COVID-19 is the virus caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Evers’ office for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Zachary Stieber April 23, 2021 Updated: April 23, 2021 A judge in Arizona on Friday ordered a halt to the audit of votes in the 2020 election. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Chris Coury said the pause is meant to be temporary. It starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and runs through noon on Monday. Coury held open the possibility of extending the pause during a hearing on April 26. The audit will only stop if the Arizona Democratic Party posts a $1 million bond meant to comp
By Zachary Stieber
April 23, 2021 Updated: April 23, 2021
A judge in Arizona on Friday ordered a halt to the audit of votes in the 2020 election.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Chris Coury said the pause is meant to be temporary. It starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and runs through noon on Monday.
Coury held open the possibility of extending the pause during a hearing on April 26.
The audit will only stop if the Arizona Democratic Party posts a $1 million bond meant to compensate the Arizona Senate for any expenses they get if they were wrongly enjoined.
The party on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the audit, arguing the audit violated state law by lacking proper safeguards.
“The question here we are raising is the audit that the Senate and its agents are conducting violate many provisions of state law,” Roopali Desai, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told the judge. “And it is those specific violations of the law that brings us here to your courtroom today.”
A judge in an earlier case ruled that the county must comply with subpoenas from the Senate.
Voter information could be made public because of lax security, Desai alleged.
The Arizona Democratic Party’s phone line was not accepting phone calls and its website did not list an email address. Desai’s law office did not return requests for comment.
A lawyer for the Senate, which subpoenaed the equipment and ballots for an audit and hired four firms to conduct it, argued that the plaintiffs did not provide evidence for their claims.
Merits aside, “we’ve not heard a word from the plaintiffs about how the constitutional clause saying that members of the legislature are immune from civil process while the legislature is in process doesn’t apply,” said Kory Langhofer, the attorney.
The audit of 2.1 million ballots and equipment used in the presidential election, including 385 tabulators, was scheduled to start on Friday after delivery to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
A legal battle over the planned audit has unfolded over months, with Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors resisting efforts to audit the county’s votes. The county has said it did several recounts and found no major issues.
Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat on the five-member board, joined the lawsuit.
Coury said he was concerned about confidentiality issues because of the sensitive information, such as names and addresses, that are being viewed by auditors.
But he emphasized that the audit will ultimately continue.
“This is a very brief pause to ensure that the confidentiality and the protections required by the Constitution and the laws are in place, that’s all it really is,” he said, adding later, “Let me be clear: the audit will proceed.”
Coury wants briefed on the legislative immunity issue, the separation of powers, and whether plaintiffs have adequate standing.
Earlier Friday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, urged Arizona’s attorney general to investigate potential violations of the state’s election laws in connection with the election audit.
Hobbs told Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, that there have been reports indicating the Senate failed to secure the equipment and ballots its contractors are auditing, resulting in “unauthorized and unmonitored access to both.”
Brnovich’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, a 35-year-old Rocklin Republican with degrees from Harvard and Yale, left a promising law career to run for a state Legislature so heavily dominated by Democrats as to render Republican votes almost meaningless.
“I would do it all over again if I had the opportunity,” Kiley, who was elected in 2016, told me recently.
“I think that there is a sort of latent coalition that is center-right in nature that can be called together and … improve the quality of life for people in the state,” he added. “I kind of got into politics with the hope that I could be a voice that could sort of try to lead the state in that direction.”
In recent months, Kiley has become one of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief antagonists in the Legislature.
He keeps a running list of the more than 400 laws and regulations affected by the 52 executive orders Newsom has issued since declaring a state of emergency for the pandemic. He introduced a resolution to end Newsom’s emergency power. He sued Newsom over the constitutionality of a vote-by-mail executive order. He introduced a bill that would prevent Newsom from filling Kamala Harris’ Senate seat if she’s elected vice president by calling a special election instead.
And as the 2020 legislative session ended two weeks ago, he asked Newsom to call a special session so lawmakers could “be a co-equal partner with you in decisions that will impact the lives of 40 million Californians.”
“I think definitely (Kiley) has made his mark during the COVID crisis, calling attention to … not giving the governor too much power … and the Legislature’s role to get back in there and represent people,” Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron told me. “He was the voice on that.”
Assemblymember Kevin Kiley sits for a portrait outside the California Capitol on Aug. 28, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
A spokesman for the governor said Newsom “has carefully used the authority the Legislature afforded him through the Emergency Services Act to safeguard public health and promote effective, continued operation of government through this unprecedented global health emergency.”
Both Kiley’s resolution to end Newsom’s emergency power and his bill to prevent the governor from filling U.S. Senate vacancies died. Neither was brought to a vote.
“At the end of the day, the office you’re in doesn’t always even matter as much as … what you make of it. There are people who are in the Legislature and … maybe they advance good legislation, maybe they don’t,” Kiley said. And then “there are people who use the position to pursue policies that change the trajectory of the state and really have a profound impact on people’s lives.”
It’s a position that has come with sacrifices.
“I don’t have a family yet, so I live on my own, which you … wouldn’t have necessarily thought would be the case when you’re in your mid-thirties, but sometimes life doesn’t turn out as you planned,” Kiley said.
“If I stayed as a lawyer at a big law firm, I’m sure that many aspects of my life would look different now.”
Assemblymember Kevin Kiley picks up an iced tea at La Bou in Sacramento on Aug. 28, 2020.
Kiley lives in an apartment in Rocklin — a suburb just outside of Sacramento where he grew up — within miles of his brother and parents, with whom he sometimes plays pickleball on the weekends. (His father, a retired doctor, joined Newsom’s California Health Corps and cared for some coronavirus patients at Sleep Train Arena, the Sacramento Kings’ basketball stadium.)
“I don’t have any terribly interesting hobbies,” he said, laughing. He goes to the gym, watches basketball and reads popular science books on physics, psychology and quantum mechanics.
He also has “the most boring culinary experience you can imagine,” which entails getting “90% of my meals” from the same “three or four places,” including Jack’s Urban Eats, Chipotle and a poké restaurant close to his apartment.
“I gotta say, Emily, I’m really boring,” he told me, laughing.
So who would guess that Kiley ended up on Nickelodeon after he and a partner won a national shooting competition sponsored by the National Basketball Association — not long after Kiley was cut from the freshman basketball team?
We “competed in the local (NBA 2Ball) area competition and we won, we advanced to the next level and we won, we advanced to the city championship and we won that,” Kiley said. “And then they chose the highest-scoring team of any city in the Western Conference … and we were the highest in the Western Conference. So we got to go to the NBA finals and compete on Nickelodeon in this shooting competition. And we ended up winning that.”
A photo collage of Assemblymember Kiley and his partner winning the NBA 2Ball championship in 2000. Photo courtesy Assemblymember Kiley
Still, he said, laughing, “I got cut from the team again the next year.”
In some ways, the experience reflects Kiley’s uphill battle in a Democrat-dominated state.
“As a member of the minority or superminority or uber minority party or whatever you want to call it … it’s not like I have the most influence on policy,” he said. “The one way I actually can make things happen is by being present at the Capitol when there are public hearings, public debate, and try to shape the course of events that way.”
“I try to find ways to have an impact, even when the odds are kind of stacked against you.”