News & Politics

Judge Nukes Ill. Lockdown: Pritzker 'Had No Authority' to Restrict Movement and Close Businesses

Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool

Illinois Circuit Court Judge Mike McHaney ruled on Thursday that Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois had no lawful authority to declare endless disasters past the initial thirty days. Ruling on a lawsuit filed by State House Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Ill.), Judge McHaney wrote, “The court declares that Defendant had no constitutional authority as Governor to restrict a citizen’s movement or activities and/or forcibly close business premises in EO 32.”

Illinois lockdown was illegal and unconstitutional

Bailey’s lawsuit alleged that the governor had abused his powers and overstepped his authority by ordering Illinoisans to stay home and shutter their businesses because of COVID-19. The judge also clarified that the lawful authority belongs to the Health Department in a time of health crisis and not the governor. This could open the door for the Health Department to take over the authoritarian role from Governor Pritzker in directing lockdowns, but for now, all of Pritzker’s executive orders aren’t worth the paper they were printed on.

Bailey tweeted out a celebratory announcement after the ruling.

 

Bailey’s attorney, Tom DeVore, issued a statement reported by WGEM. “We do not have executive officers or heads of administrative agencies dictating to people unilaterally. And if you don’t agree with them they’re going to punish you,” DeVore said. “That has to come to an end.”

Governor Pritzker is expected to appeal and has commented on the lawsuit in the usual sour lemons tone, blaming his political opponents instead of recognizing that his orders have devastated Illinois businesses and families.

“History will remember those who put politics aside to come together to keep people safe,” he self-righteously said. “It will also remember those who so blindly devoted [sic] to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity that they made an enemy of science and of reason.”

Perhaps Representative Bailey simply heard the cries of his constituents who were losing everything they ever worked for and responded to them by holding the governor to the law. You can read the full complaint Bailey filed here. He accused the governor of bypassing the legislature to usurp undue authority. It’s scintillating summer reading.

Not surprisingly, journalists were dogging the judge on the way out of the courtroom and accusing him of “bias.” McHaney should prepare to be called terrible names and thrown into the “anti-science” crowd for upholding the rights of Americans to feed themselves during a pandemic. I hope he has a strong constitution. We do. 

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