After Court Strikes Down Stay at Home Order, Wisconsin Governor Says There'll Be 'Chaos' In State

Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers said there would be "chaos" after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down his stay-at-home order.

"Wisconsin was in a pretty good place in our battle against COVID-19. We had reached almost all our gating criteria. On Monday we had opened up 14,000 small businesses across the state, putting potentially 90,000 folks back to work in that industry," Evers said during a coronavirus press conference.

"Despite that good work by Wisconsinites across our state – who banded together, stayed home and stayed safe – Republican legislators have convinced four of our Supreme Court Justices to throw our state into chaos," Evers said, echoing comments he made in a statement to Newsweek Wednesday.

"Just because Republicans said it can be a free-for-all, that doesn't mean we have to throw that good judgment out the window," the governor said during the press conference.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of Republican lawmakers, who argued that Evers overstepped his authority when he decided to extend the states stay-at-home order through May 26 after it was originally set to expire in April.

In his concurring opinion with the 4-3 ruling, Justice Daniel Kelly wrote: "This comprehensive claim to control virtually every aspect of a person's life is something we normally associate with a prison, not a free society governed by the rule of law."

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News of the ruling prompted a tweet from President Donald Trump calling it a "win": "The Great State of Wisconsin, home to Tom Tiffany's big Congressional Victory on Tuesday, was just given another win. Its Democrat Governor was forced by the courts to let the State Open. The people want to get on with their lives. The place is bustling!"

Evers lamented the ruling during his press conference and the reality that different local officials will now have differing orders in place throughout the state, which he said will be "confusing."

"Instead of a comprehensive statewide approach to keep people safe, we're seeing municipalities across the state chart their own course. That means you might have to follow a different set of rules than your neighbors across the street. If you own businesses in multiple locations or have employees that live in a different community than the one they work in, things are going to get very confusing very fast," the governor said.

A state official at the press conference said that five or six counties had already implemented local orders.

"Even with all this chaos, we cannot let the court's ruling undo all the work we have done and all the sacrifices Wisconsin has made over these past few months...because folks the Supreme Court may have changed the rules for how we operate, but it sure as heck didn't change how viruses operate," Evers said.

During the press conference, Evers took aim at the Tavern League, a non-profit trade association in the state, for urging its members to open their bars. This led to a flood of people packing into bars that had been closed to dining-in during the stay-at-home order.

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People in cars participate in a protest against the coronavirus shutdown in front of State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 24, 2020. - Gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors had a green light to reopen in the US state of Georgia April 24 as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic soared past 50,000 in the US. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images) KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/Getty
After Court Strikes Down Stay at Home Order, Wisconsin Governor Says There'll Be 'Chaos' In State | U.S.