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Racine Judge Kills City's Reopening Ordinance; Appeal Notice Filed

July 1, 2020 6:40p; Updated 7-4

Update: An appeals court has stayed a Racine judge's injunction against Racine that prohibited it from enforcing its COVID-19 ordinance. 

(WGTD)---Racine Mayor Cory Mason is lashing out at a judge who declared the city’s COVID-19 ordinance to be unconstitutional.

In issuing a final ruling Wednesday, Judge Jon Fredrickson called the breadth and scope of part of the law to be “astonishing” and said it’s likely the strictest and most over-arching such order in the country.

In response, Mason labeled Frederickson a “right-wing, activist” judge, and said he hopes no one else will die because of his ruling. Mason said appeals have already been filed.

Fredrickson’s decision comes in a challenge to the ordinance from the owners of a gym who were prevented from fully opening.

The ordinance that was struck down established re-opening guidelines for businesses and non-profits, and directed residents to follow the online advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frederickson found the latter component to be especially troubling, in that it would seem to require residents to access, digest and follow frequently-changing guidance from the C-D-C.

Mason said it’s ironic that the decision comes on the same day that Dane County put back in place restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Fredrickson ends his 19-page order by complementing city officials on the hard work they’ve been doing to keep the city safe. In making clear that he’s not disputing the city’s powers to open and shut businesses and pass regulations to fight the pandemic, Frederickson inferred that the city might want to rewrite the law to make it fall within what he at least perceives to be constitutional boundaries.