Wisconsin has ties in 2 SCOTUS rulings

Posted at 10:45 a.m. on June 27, 2019

The Brillion News

WASHINGTON,D.C. – The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings on Thursday, June 27, on two cases with strong Wisconsin interests.

In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court issued a favorable decision for the State of Wisconsin in Mitchell v. Wisconsin.

The ruling upheld police taking blood from a drunk driver against hisi wishes in order to get evidence of intoxication.

“This law helps protect communities from impaired drivers,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul “We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a Wisconsin law that promotes public safety.”

This case was argued by Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Legal Services (DLS) Assistant Attorneys General Hannah Jurss, Anthony Russomanno, and Michael Sanders, along with DLS Administrator Charlotte Gibson.

In the case, Gerald Mitchell was arrested for operating while intoxicated. Because he was unconscious, a breath test could not be administered. He was taken to a hospital where his blood was drawn without his consent – because he was passed out. Police did not get a search warrant for the blood draw.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the decision for the Supreme Court. He said the majority “concluded that when a driver is unconscious and cannot be given a breath test, the exigent circumstances doctrine generally permits a blood teat without a warrant.”

The justices noted that there is a compelling and paramount interest in highway safety in getting drunk drivers off the road, and that trumps getting the suspect’s permission or a warrant to get the evidence of blood alcohol concentration, which disappears as the minutes tick off.

Gerrymandering

In the second case of interest here, the SCOTUS ruled 5-4 that federal courts have no authority to intervene in gerrymandering cases, which are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the states.

Democrats were angry by the decision, blaming it on conservative justices on the high court.

The case involved instances where redistricting was carried out and critics felt that the new district lines were drawn to support election of candidates of the party in power at the time of the redistricting.

Democrats in Wisconsin had been watching this case closely because they believe Republicans drew district lines unfavorable to Democratic candidates following the 2010 U.S. Census.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, released the following joint statement in regard to the United States Supreme Court ruling on several redistricting cases and its potential effect on Whitford v. Gill in Wisconsin: “We hope the high court’s ruling puts an end to the litigation in Wisconsin associated with redistricting. The Supreme Court has now confirmed what we have said all along – that it was not a matter for the federal courts to second guess the Legislature on these issues.”

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, blasted the ruling and accused justices of sleeping on the job.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling on partisan gerrymandering is devastating for our democracy, our system of government, the right to participate in the democratic process, and the notion that people should come before politics. Partisan gerrymandering is exactly how we end up with a majority party in power that doesn’t care that 70 percent of our state supports things like Medicaid expansion. The people should get to choose their representatives, not the other way around,” Evers said.

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