Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Lawsuit Against Wisconsin Pandemic Orders

Yesterday two Wisconsin residents, represented by Cooper & Kirk, filed a lawsuit challenging various Wisconsin orders addressing the pandemic. Notably, they filed their lawsuit—or, more precisely, their emergency petition—as an original action in the Wisconsin supreme court.

Petitioners contend that aspects of the state orders violate their rights to engage in religious worship and in political protest. An excerpt (emphases in original):

Petitioners do not question the seriousness of the present health crisis, or the weight of the State’s interest in dealing with it. But the inexplicable lines drawn and distinctions made in the Order that Respondents have promulgated in response to the epidemic refute any contention that these constitutional infringements are the least restrictive means, or even sensible means, of combatting the virus. While EO 28 permits 60 individuals—ten adult staff and 50 children (who obviously can not be required or expected to be properly masked and distanced)—to gather together in a day care center, it does not allow even ten religious believers (who can be required and expected to observe recognized protective measures) to gather together for worship. While Respondents allow hundreds of customers into Costco at any given time, no group of any size is allowed to assemble in the park, or any other public or private place, to engage in political protest or expression.


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