(The Center Square) – The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is taking another shot at Dane County’s emergency order, which places all sorts of limits on businesses and bans crowds of more than 10 people.
WILL on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Dane County court challenging the county’s Emergency Order 10. This is the second lawsuit WILL has filed against the county’s emergency order. The first case last year failed in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court,
“This lawsuit is substantially similar to an original action WILL filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in November 2020,” the group said in a statement. “The Court voted not to grant WILL’s original action, 4-3, without addressing the merits of the case, but four Justices indicated the claims had substantial merit.”
WILL is arguing, once again, Dane County’s board must vote on the emergency order and closures. WILL’s lawsuit says the county’s public health department does not have the constitutional power to issue such sweeping orders on its own.
“Dane County’s health department has enacted some of the strongest restrictions in Wisconsin without any express sanction from local elected officials,” WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg, said. “This lawsuit asks the court to rein in the ability of local, unelected health officers to unilaterally issue sweeping restrictions.”
While the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against WILL last year, the court did leave the door open to another case.
Justice Brian Hagedorn, who was the swing vote in the last case, wrote at the time WILL”s lawsuit asks “important statutory and constitutional questions that deserve judicial scrutiny.”
Dane County enacted Emergency Order 10 in November of last year, and has since moved on to Emergency Order 12. That order keeps the same restrictions in place.
In addition to limits on bars, restaurants, and other businesses as well as gatherings, Dane County’s emergency orders limit both school-related and private sports teams.
WILL is suing on behalf of two parents who say the emergency order’s ban on sports in Dane County is harming their children.
“Recent research from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that ‘participation in sports is not associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 among Wisconsin high school student-athletes,’ based on a survey of 207 schools in Wisconsin that allowed sports during the fall,” WILL’s lawsuit states. “Another study from UW Madison, of soccer specifically, surveyed 124 clubs from 34 states, serving over 90,000 soccer players, and found only one case of COVID-19.”
WILL filed the case in Dane County court on Wednesday.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.