Posted 6 days ago
EXCLUSIVE: The Department of Justice on Friday intervened in an Illinois case that has the potential to invalidate the state’s stay-at-home order implemented by Democratic Gov. J. B. Pritzker -- while also writing to the mayor of Los Angeles to warn that a lengthy lockdown could be "arbitrary and unlawful.”
The DOJ filed a statement of interest in support of a lawsuit by state lawmaker Rep. Darren Bailey, who has sought to challenge Pritzker’s stay-at-home restrictions -- challenging whether he can keep the restrictions in place longer than the 30 days allowed by state law.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Illinois has, over the past two months, sought to rely on authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to impose sweeping limitations on nearly all aspects of life for citizens of Illinois, significantly impairing in some instances their ability to maintain their economic livelihoods,” the agency said in a statement.
Continuing, the DOJ said: “According to the lawsuit, the Governor’s actions are not authorized by state law, as they extend beyond the 30-day time period imposed by the Illinois legislature for the Governor’s exercise of emergency powers granted under the Act.”
Bailey last month won a lawsuit against the stay-at-home order, seeking to prevent the governor “from taking any action ... which orders Darren Bailey to stay at home, or at his place of residence, as well as limiting his ability to travel within the state..."
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The motion alleged that Pritzker's stay-at-home order is "in excess of the authority granted him" under Illinois law. While that order only applied to Bailey, he has since sought to have it apply to the state as a whole.
The DOJ said that Pritzker, instead of responding to a motion for summary judgement, has sought to have the case removed to federal district court
“The Governor of Illinois owes it to the people of Illinois to allow his state’s courts to adjudicate the question of whether Illinois law authorizes orders he issued to respond to COVID-19,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division in a statement. “The United States Constitution and state constitutions established a system of divided and limited governmental power, and they did so to secure the blessings of liberty to all people in our country.“
“Under our system, all public officials, including governors, must comply with the law, especially during times of crisis. The Department of Justice remains committed to defending the rule of law and the American people at all times, especially during this difficult time as we deal with COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“However well-intentioned they may be, the executive orders appear to reach far beyond the scope of the 30-day emergency authority granted to the Governor under Illinois ... (Read more)