State Supreme Court justices and lawyers for both sides appear by video conference during arguments over the state Legislature's lawsuit concerning Gov. Tony Evers' Safer at Home measure.
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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home strategy faced scrutiny in the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, with justices in the court’s conservative majority expressing deep skepticism. The justices heard oral arguments over video conference in the Legislature’s legal challenge of the far-reaching order that seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19. Ed Treleven covered the story for the Wisconsin State Journal, and we have excerpted key quotes from the arguments below. 

We also highlight Wisconsin Watch’s examination of the upcoming May 12 election for the 7th Congressional District — when election workers will again try to keep themselves and voters safe during the pandemic. University of Wisconsin-Madison student journalists Francisco Velazquez and Chelsea Hylton along with Wisconsin Watch managing editor Dee J. Hall reported the story as part of an investigative reporting class Hall teaches.

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Some key quotes from today’s Supreme Court oral arguments over Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order. You can watch the arguments in their entirety here.

“If Safer at Home is enjoined with nothing to replace it, and people pour out into the streets, that the disease will spread like wildfire, and we’ll be back in a terrible situation with an out-of-control virus with no weapon to fight it — no treatments, no vaccine, nothing … People will die if this order is enjoined with nothing to replace it.”

Assistant Attorney General at Wisconsin Department of Justice Colin Roth

“This case is not about whether a lockdown is a good idea … The Department therefore needs to do what it should have done in the first place: Sit down at a table with the very body whose powers it exercises and which created the department in the first place: the Legislature.”

Ryan Walsh, an attorney for the law firm Eimer Stahl, representing the lawmakers in the case

“(The surge in COVID-19 cases) was due to the meatpacking — that’s where Brown County got the flare … It wasn’t just the regular folks in Brown County.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, appearing to downplay the severity of Brown County’s COVID-19 outbreak, which makes the Green Bay metro area one of the nation’s fastest-growing virus hotspots.

Data to note

The state Department of Health Services on Tuesday announced health care-related goals Wisconsin must meet to begin gradually reopening the economy under Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan. Data to measure Wisconsin’s progress toward these goals will be available on Friday, the department said, and full details can be found here.

The Evers administration has now announced all key criteria to evaluate under the reopening plan. Below is the full set of metrics. More information can be found here.

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