CNN's Toobin Rants Over 'Outrageous' GOP Lawsuit in Wisconsin, a 'Failed State'

May 16th, 2020 9:50 AM

On Thursday's New Day show, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin went on a tear against Wisconsin Republicans for successfully suing to end the stay-at-home orders enacted by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. Toobin declared that state Republicans had made Wisconsin a "failed state" with their "outrageous lawsuit," and went on to claim Republicans promote a "disbelief in science."

Recalling the state supreme court decision striking down the order, co-host Alisyn Camerota read a quote from conservative Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly supporting the decision, "This comprehensive claim to control virtually every aspect of a person's life is something we normally associate with a prison, not a free society governed by the rule of law." Then she asked Toobin for....the Democratic rebuttal. 

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The Republican party has turned Wisconsin into a failed state. I mean, this is such an outrageous lawsuit -- such an outrageous decision including by Daniel Kelly whom you quoted who has already been voted out of office when he just hasn't been thrown out yet. His term isn't quite over.

The idea, this lawsuit, you know, as Sanjay said, it's understandable that people are frustrated -- everybody is frustrated -- ...but the idea that a state cannot try to protect the public health of its citizens is contrary to Wisconsin law as well as common sense, and this hostility in the Republican party to the Democratic governor there has just jeopardized thousands of lives in Wisconsin.

Even though there is a numbers-based argument that keeping the economy closed for too long could also cost many lives, Toobin later attacked Republicans as anti-science:

TOOBIN: I think the problem is that the virus has been politicized, and, you know, you have Democrats believing in science and believing in the need to listen to people like Sanjay (Gupta) and Doctor Bright … and you have Republicans who are looking at this, it seems to me, through an ideological lens that is about hostility to government, disbelief in science, and government has just got to come down on one side or the other -- that either you are with science or you're not.

And if people have to stay home and if there's economic suffering -- as there clearly is -- that's a price we're going to have to pay so that thousands more people don't die. I mean, no one wants this, but there is either response to the real world or there is fantasy about what you want the world to be, and it seems to me, between those two choices, you got to go with the former.

Toobin's not willing to concede that the failure of these dire predictions to take root so far in states like Florida and Georgia might be...the "real world."