Federal Judge Rules Shutdown Orders Unconstitutional

Federal Judge Rules Shutdown Orders Unconstitutional

A First Amendment victory


A victory for the First Amendment occured on Monday!

In western Pennsylvania, a federal judge has ruled that the shutdown imposed by governor Tom Wolf due to coronavirus is unconstitutional.

The ruling says that the shutdown directly violates the First Amendment Right to assemble.

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U.S. District Court Judge William Stickman IV said that that the stay-at-home order as well as the business closure components were both unconstitutional.

The limits previously put in place wouldn’t allow more than 25 people indoors, or 250 outdoors.

Our pals at Fox News have more on the ruling:

A federal judge on Monday ruled that some of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's restrictions implemented amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional -- marking a win for businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the forced shutdown.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, who was appointed by President Trump, sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer's market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders in their lawsuit against Wolf, a Democrat, and his health secretary.

The ruling found that Wolf's restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered "non-life-sustaining" businesses to shut down were unconstitutional.

The Wolf administration's pandemic policies have been overreaching, arbitrary and violated citizens' constitutional rights, Stickman wrote in his ruling.

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Politico has more on this landmark decision:

The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”

Courts had consistently rejected challenges to Wolf’s power to order businesses to close during the pandemic, and many other governors, Republican and Democrat, undertook similar measures as the virus spread across the country.

Wolf has since lifted many of the restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen and canceling a statewide stay-at-home order.

But over the summer, his administration imposed a new round of statewide pandemic restrictions on bars, restaurants and larger indoor gatherings in response to rising infection rates in some virus hot spots. The state has also imposed a gathering limit of more than 25 people for events held indoors and more than 250 people for those held outside.

A spokesperson for Wolf said the administration was reviewing the decision.

Pennsylvania has reported that more than 145,000 people statewide have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 7,800 people have died.

President Donald Trump sent several tweets following the ruling.


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