In news that shocked absolutely no one, a state judge ruled Monday that Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s attempt to extend his stay-at-home order was illegal.
According to Newsweek, a county judge in the Land of Lincoln also said the 30-day extension of the order through May 30 “shredded the Constitution.”
“The restraining order, granted by Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney, only applies to a single citizen, Republican State Representative Darren Bailey, the plaintiff who had requested the court to issue the restraining order,” Newsweek reported.
“Bailey argued that while state law allows the governor to declare a disaster for 30 days, the law doesn’t explicitly say whether a governor can extend such a declaration or issue a concurrent one when the original is set to expire.”
Pritzker said that precedent allowed for him to do this.
McHaney disagreed, siding with Bailey in the lawsuit. Illinois residents can now join Bailey in his lawsuit or file their own.
“Are you seriously trying to argue that this executive order has not caused serious injury?” McHaney told government lawyers during Monday’s hearing after they asked whether Bailey had truly been harmed, according to WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.
In addition to saying Pritzker’s extension of the order “shredded the Constitution,” McHaney reportedly added: “Every second this Executive Order is in existence, it violates the Constitution shreds the Bill of Rights.”
Government lawyers asked whether Bailey has been harmed. Judge McHaney: “Are you seriously trying to argue that this executive order has not caused serious injury?”
“Every second this Executive Order is in existence, it violates the Constitution shreds the Bill of Rights.”
— Mark Maxwell (@MarkMaxwellTV) April 27, 2020
Pritzker, meanwhile, is looking to obtain an emergency stay of the temporary restraining order while he asks the Illinois Appellate Court to take a look at the case.
“What’s going on is actually that our governor, J.B. Pritzker, is threatening the very constitutionality of the land that we live in by taking actions on himself,” Bailey said, according to the Washington Examiner.
While the state representative said the state’s constitution allowed for an emergency declaration to be put into place for 30 days by the governor, there was no mechanism by which it could be extended.
“The legislators, the House and Senate, have also been asleep during this whole time in just allowing, I don’t know, fear, panic — allowing this governor to do as he wishes,” he said.
Pritzker, meanwhile, said that Bailey was “blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity.”
No word from the governor as to what he thought the judge might be devoted to. (The law? Probably not.)
Irresponsible, reckless, ignores the law, science and medical experts so that one grandstanding legislator can get a few press hits. An absolute disgrace. The state will appeal immediately and work to protect the many, many lives we are entrusted with. https://t.co/4hcO85jnkN
— Anne Caprara (@anacaprana) April 27, 2020
“It’s insulting. It’s dangerous, and people’s safety and health have now been put at risk,” Pritzker said. “There may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done.”
Right. So let Gov. Pritzker do what he wants. Who cares about that pesky state constitution, or the U.S. Constitution, for that matter? What are those things for, anyhow? The rule of law? Pfft. How quaint!
By the way, if Bailey loses in court, he says he’s going to pursue a legislative solution. This is unlikely to work, given we’re talking about Illinois here, but it’s probably worth noting that Pritzker doesn’t seem to have the constitutional ability to simply extend the stay-at-home order on his own.
If Pritzker wants to do this, he should do it the way the state constitution seems to indicate he should: He ought to work with state lawmakers. If he doesn’t want to do that, he can open up the state.
Either way would be fine with me.
The reason it’s not fine with Pritzker is simple: It would require him to compromise. That’s the problem with lawmakers across the country right now. They don’t want to do that.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot put it best, if unintentionally.
“One of the many problems with this ill-advised opinion is that it will destroy the collective progress we have made,” Lightfoot said. “Contrary to what this ruling suggests, we must all be in this together, and only through cooperation and collaboration can we contain and limit the effects of the virus.”
We must all be in this together, so long as being all in this together means being in it with the Democrats. Right, Republicans?
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