Plaintiffs seek Injunction against new “Madison Dane” and Milwaukee orders
July 5, 2020
On Friday evening July 3rd, we filed a request for an immediate injunction against Madison Dane Public Health Officer Janelle Heinrich and City of Milwaukee Public Health Officer Jeanette Kowalik. We are asking the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to enjoin the new Dane County and Milwaukee “Emergency” Orders that went into effect on July 2nd and July 1st, 2020. Together, these two individuals have issued 11 “emergency” orders in less than two months. We hope to obtain a hearing date this week.
The Wisconsin Statutes provide that Heinrich and Kowalik may “forbid public gatherings,” but their orders go far beyond what the law allows. Dane Emergency Order #7 limits private gatherings, including inside your own home. It prohibits an extended family of more than 10 from planning a dinner together inside one of their own homes, and prohibits any religious gathering of more than 10 people, whether inside a private home, church, synagogue, or other house of worship.
One of the Plaintiffs in the case, Pastor Daniel Quakkelaar from Friend of Sinners Mission Church, closed his church in early March 2020 before any government order required it. In June, he himself marched in a Milwaukee demonstration in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Pastor Quakkalar, a U.S. Army Veteran who served behind the Iron Curtain and trained as a broadcast journalist, notes that the march he participated in involved people gathering in close quarters, singing and chanting, some passing water bottles among the crowd. That activity is similar to the kind of activity that has been used to justify stricter limits on church and worship services.
From the court filing:
“Defendants Heinrich and Kowalik are unelected officials. Their Orders have no end date, are subject to review by no one, and they themselves are subject to no action by the voters. No one voted them in, and no one can vote them out.
While governors govern and legislatures legislate, these defendants rule. Their orders are edicts and should not be treated with the deference given duly enacted laws. These Defendants have exceeded their powers and violated the constitutional rights of the Plaintiffs. Madison Dane Emergency Order #7 and Milwaukee Order #4 should be enjoined by this Court.”
The case is Yang et al. v. Powers, et al., Eastern District of Wisconsin Case No. 20-CV-760.
A full copy of the brief in support of the injunction request is available here:
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