October 14, 2020 Feature

How the Wisconsin Legislature Reopened the State with a Mundane Legal Theory

By Lane Ruhland

COVID-19 not only has wreaked havoc on our country’s population and economy, but it also has kept lawyers quite busy, especially in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s legislative and executive branches certainly do not see eye to eye on policy matters with a democratic governor and republican-controlled legislature, and that tenuous relationship has been strained further by continual confrontations in court, only increased by the presence of the pandemic. For example, the Wisconsin legislature has defended against numerous challenges to Wisconsin’s election administration brought by outside groups as well as when the governor attempted to reschedule Wisconsin’s spring election due to the pandemic.1 Thus far, the legislature has been successful in these cases. Perhaps the most tense confrontation came in the legislature’s challenge to the authority of the governor’s cabinet secretary, Andrea Palm, in Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm.2

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