Wisconsin bars reopen hours after Supreme Court overturns stay-at-home order

Hours after the Wisconsin state Supreme Court overturned Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order on Wednesday, several bars opened their doors and welcomed patrons for the first time in more than two months.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin, a trade association that represents alcoholic beverage retailers across the state, posted on Facebook shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling that bars can “OPEN IMMEDIATELY!”

One business owner in western Wisconsin said around 20 people arrived in his bar within five minutes of announcing the reopening. Another bar owner in Green Bay said his beer distributor had already delivered two shipments by 8 p.m.

The Tavern League encouraged bar owners to follow guidelines set forth by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court blocks the governor from extending the state’s stay-at-home order.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the extension of a stay-at-home order by Gov. Tony Evers, siding with Republicans in one of most high-profile challenges of its kind to the emergency authority of a statewide official during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Evers, a Democrat, had extended the prohibition on most travel and operations of nonessential businesses until May 26.

But in a 4-to-3 ruling, the conservative-leaning court said that measure had exceeded the authority given to Wisconsin’s top health official under state law.

“An agency cannot confer on itself the power to dictate the lives of law-abiding individuals as comprehensively as the order does without reaching beyond the executive branch’s authority,” the justices wrote in the ruling.

There have been legal challenges to stay-at-home orders in Michigan, California, Kentucky and Illinois, but none of those were successful in persuading a court to fully strike down the order, as the plaintiffs in the Wisconsin case were.

The ruling, a spokeswoman for Mr. Evers said, appears to immediately end all provisions that have required Wisconsin residents to stay home.

“We’re definitely concerned,” the spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, said of the safety and health of residents.

The ruling did not provide a mechanism for a stay so that Republicans and Democrats could reach a compromise on reopening Wisconsin, which the dissenting justices wrote could endanger people in the state.

The lack of a stay would be particularly breathtaking given the testimony yesterday before Congress by one of our nation’s top infectious disease experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci,” one of the dissenting opinions said. “He cautioned that if the country reopens too soon, it will result in ‘some suffering and death that could be avoided [and] could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery.’”

How the Navy could be torpedoing Trump’s chances in 2020

When it comes time to defend his red wall along the Great Lakes, President Trump is going to come face to face with the consequences of his Pentagon leadership’s failure to implement his oft-promised 355-ship Navy (up from 290 today).

Pennsylvania workers make many of the essentials that go into ships, including shafts manufactured in Erie and cooling systems in York. Every time the Navy awards a contract for a new ship, the president or vice president should be at one of these facilities talking about the jobs the contracts will provide. But the Navy hasn’t been issuing those contracts, so the president can’t make those announcements.

The Navy could have gone big — still could still go big — in Philadelphia. To extend the life of the existing fleet, a person familiar with the planning tells me, the Navy must perform roughly 100 more ship dockings in the next decade than current dock space can accommodate. Philly Shipyard has the capability to build floating dry docks to make up for this shortfall. Why isn’t Trump announcing a plan to expand the Navy’s dry-dock infrastructure while standing in Philly Shipyard?

Wisconsin benefits from Navy shipbuilding in two ways. First, there is the shipyard in Marinette that creates jobs in both Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Fincantieri Marine Group is a bidder on the new 20-ship Navy FFG(X) guided-missile frigate program, but politics cannot take precedence over ship design, so the contract is not guaranteed to land lakeside in Wisconsin. The least Trump could do, though, is insist that the Navy pick up the pace of its dreadfully slow design competition.

The Fincantieri Marinette Marine is already under contract to build four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships for Saudi Arabia. More work would be sent Wisconsin’s way if the Trump administration could persuade the Saudis to increase their order or bring other countries, such as Israel, on board.

Incredibly, Michigan ranks near the bottom of all the states when defense spending is calculated as a percentage of a state’s GDP — 47th out of 50 in fiscal year 2017 for what was once the arsenal of democracy. Per-resident defense spending in Michigan that year was a paltry $386, compared with $1,554 in Oklahoma.

When the Air Force decided in 2017 not to base F-35A fighter aircraft at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, it missed an easy way to achieve some equity in the distribution of defense-industry dollars in the states. Trump could direct the Pentagon to reverse that decision.

The Navy’s plans for a new “large unmanned surface vessel” calls for a ship which could be built at a Great Lakes facility; near Detroit makes sense, if only out of fairness to a state that has been largely ignored in the Trump military rebuild. Given the likely long-term need for many of these ships in the future, a new facility could be planted and grown along with the program. It pains this Buckeye to say so, but somewhere along the Michigan coast next door to Ohio would be equitable.

A focus on Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin need not be limited to the Defense Department. Recently, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) pushed successfully for the planned relocation of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction, Colo., in a brilliant move to bring bureaucrats closer to the citizens they regulate and whom they are supposed to serve. Sending large parts of the Environmental Protection Agency to Flint, Mich., or nearby locations would drive home the same message.

Trump has the chance to drain the swamp while making government agencies much more attuned to the people in flyover country. But he must act soon.

Yet, it is really the Navy’s utter failure to deliver even a bare-bones plan to realize the president’s promise of a 355-ship Navy that ought to rankle the commander in chief. A new chief of naval operations will arrive soon. The president ought to have waiting on his desk copies of the speeches in which he promised, and then promised again, a 355-ship Navy, along with the slogan famously used by Winston Churchill scrawled with the black Sharpie that Trump likes to use: “Action this day!”

#132 Negative Mount Pleasant

A small town in Wisconsin becomes the site of a completely unprecedented experiment.

A Better Mount Pleasant vs Let’s Make A Better Mount Pleasant
Journalist Larry Tabak’s series on Foxconn in Wisconsin
Economist David Merriman’s paper on the type of financing used by Mount Pleasant
Journalist Brian Merchant’s book which includes a visit to Foxconn campus in China

An Interview with Sruthi Pinnamaneni on Vergecast

Transcript

[THEME MUSIC]
PJ VOGT: From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I’m PJ Vogt.
So there’s this tiny town in Wisconsin called Mount Pleasant. Population’s just 26,000 people, technically it’s a village. And life in Mount Pleasant is usually as quiet as you’d expect. They’re a suburb of Racine, home of malted milk and the site of some of America’s largest cabbage farms. But that’s the city. Mount Pleasant’s the suburb–place where nothing really happens. Until last year, when the village became the site of a completely unprecedented, massive international experiment.