Monday, June 21, 2021

Supreme Court still considering whether Racine order to close schools was legal

 Journal Times staff

MADISON — The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision on June 11, ruled that Dane County didn’t have the authority to close all schools to most students in its jurisdiction amid its attempts to restrain the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a similar case against the City of Racine Public Health Department is still being considered by the state’s highest court.

In that case, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the conservative law firm that represented complainants in the Dane County case, brought the lawsuit against the City of Racine in November, after the city’s health department ordered all schools in its jurisdiction to close following Thanksgiving and through Jan. 15.

After the June 11 decision, both the City of Racine and WILL were ordered to file letters “discussing the impact” of the decision on how it affects the Racine case. Those letters are due at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 22


While state high court’s June 11 decision has little effect now that the school year is over, it is expected to set a precedent for future pandemics.

“The power to take measures ‘reasonable and necessary’ cannot be reasonably read as an open-ended grant of authority,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority, comprised of the court’s four conservative-leaning judges.


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