ILLINOIS — Last week’s Clay County court ruling that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 emergency orders were invalid without a request for a stay could trigger a speedy resolution as other cases challenging the governor’s powers continue ahead.
After Thursday’s ruling his COVID-19 restrictions beyond April 8 void for going beyond the initial 30-day executive authority, Pritzker released a statement encouraging businesses to keep following his orders.
“We have seen that mitigation measures have worked in our state and we’ve seen too many other states rapidly lose ground in the fight against the virus,” Pritzker said in a statement Friday. “If establishments cannot abide by capacity requirements, I will not hesitate to close them to keep people safe.”
Attorney Thomas DeVore, who represented state Rep. Darren Bailey in that case, Monday said the Clay County ruling Thursday is a final order against Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and individuals, despite what the Pritzker administration says about being able to close businesses down for violating capacity restrictions.
“It’s more theatre, I can tell you they’re trying to confuse people,” DeVore said. “They’re trying to intimidate people.”
He said half of his clients have had the governor’s office send cease-and-desist letters threatening their businesses, but he said there’s been no enforcement.
Kent Redfield, a longtime Illinois politics observer and professor, said there are challenges all over against the governor’s orders.
“We’ve kind of got balls up in the air in terms of federal court, in terms of state court, eventually you’ll have to get a resolution,” he said.
There’s the case Illinois Republicans have in federal court against the governor’s crowd limits, the lawsuits businesses have in state courts against the governor’s orders, and filing a motion for summary judgment against regulations for masks and temperature checks for schools.
“That will open up another front in this if there’s a ruling against the state board of education and the Illinois Department of Public Health,” Redfield said.
But, Redfield said the Clay County court ruling from Thursday will probably lead to a “fairly quick resolution.”
“Quick in terms of a week, ten days, as opposed to the four or five months that it often takes things even when they’re expedited,” Redfield said.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office on Monday repeated what they said after the Clay County ruling Thursday, that it will continue to review the Clay County court order and evaluate its options.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop