Lindoo v. Evers

Case Name: Lindoo v. Evers

Type of Case: Separation of Powers, Emergency Powers

Court: Polk County Circuit Court

Case Number:

Filed On: August 25, 2020

Current Status: The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision in Fabick v. Evers that Governor Evers’ use of mulitple emergency orders violated the law.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), on behalf of three Wisconsin residents and taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in Polk County Circuit Court against Governor Tony Evers for violating state law by declaring a second public health emergency on July 30. State law forbids a governor from unilaterally extending a public health emergency beyond 60 days or skirting the law by declaring multiple 60-day emergencies for the same crisis.

Background

On May 12, 2020, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’s 60-day public health emergency, declared in relation to the sudden arrival of COVID-19, ended. The legislature had the option to extend the emergency and the expanded executive powers that accompany a state of emergency but declined to take any action.

The end of the emergency heralded the return of our regular constitutional order. The legislature has the responsibility of crafting and passing legislation and the executive branch has the option to sign or veto legislation. Any further statewide responses to COVID-19 ought to have proceeded through this regular process.

But Governor Evers declared a second public health emergency, Executive Order #82, on July 30, seizing emergency powers for a second 60-day period to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Accompanying the new emergency declaration is a mask mandate applying to all 72 counties.

WILL’s lawsuit is very simple. Governor Evers cannot seize emergency powers more than once to address the same crisis. To interpret the law otherwise, would allow one-person rule by the Governor for what could be a virtually unlimited amount of time whenever the vague statutory definition of a “public health emergency” or “disaster” can be said to be present. The result would be the total breakdown of our constitutional order.

A motion for a temporary injunction was denied and a motion for summary judgment was before the Court when the Wisconsin Supreme Court took the Fabick original action. The Court stayed the proceedings in Polk County, and invited the Polk County plaintiffs to submit an amicus brief in Fabick.

WILL filed an amicus on November 3 and participated in oral arguments on November 6.

Current Status: The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision in Fabick v. Evers, Wednesday, to declare Governor Evers’ use of multiple, consecutive emergency declarations, unlawful. Justice Brian Hagedorn, writing for the majority, wrote, “The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not.”

 

CASE DOCUMENTS

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Gov. Evers’ Multiple Emergency Declarations Violate Law

WILL sued in circuit court in August 2020 arguing Evers violated law The News: The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision in Fabick v. Evers, Wednesday, to declare Governor Evers’ use of multiple, consecutive emergency declarations, unlawful. Justice Brian...

WILL to Participate in Wisconsin Supreme Court Oral Argument in Legal Challenge to Gov. Evers’s COVID-19 Emergency Declarations

WILL to address unconstitutional delegation of legislative power The News: The Wisconsin Supreme Court granted the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) 10 minutes of oral argument time for the argument in Fabick v. Evers, an original action to the...

WILL Amicus: Gov. Evers’s Emergency Declarations Threaten Separation of Powers

WILL files amicus in original action before Wisconsin Supreme Court The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed an amicus brief in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Fabick v. Evers, an original action challenging Governor Evers’s legal authority...

WILL Asks Judge to Decide on Merits in Lawsuit Challenging Gov. Evers’s Emergency Declarations

Critical questions remain before the court on emergency powers The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a motion for summary judgment in Lindoo v. Evers, a lawsuit filed in Polk County Circuit Court challenging Governor Tony Evers’s legal...

WILL Pledges Appeal in Lawsuit Challenging Governor Evers’s Emergency Declarations

Judge denies WILL’s motion for injunction The News: St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge R. Michael Waterman denied the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s (WILL) motion for an injunction in a lawsuit challenging Governor Tony Evers’s legal authority to issue...

WILL Files Motion for Immediate Injunction in Lawsuit Challenging Governor Evers’s Emergency Declaration

Motion for immediate relief comes after Governor Evers extends emergency The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a motion for an immediate injunction in a lawsuit in Polk County Circuit Court challenging the emergency declaration Governor...

Governor Evers Violates State Law Again with Third COVID Emergency Declaration

WILL sued Governor Evers in Polk County in August over second COVID emergency. The News: Governor Tony Evers’s announcement Tuesday that he has declared another statewide emergency declaration to respond to COVID-19, his third declaration this year in response to the...

WILL Sues Governor Evers Over Second COVID-19 Emergency Declaration

Lawsuit filed in Polk County challenges Governor Evers’s power grab The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), on behalf of three Wisconsin residents and taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in Polk County Circuit Court against Governor Tony Evers for...