The Department of Justice has thrown its support behind a lawsuit filed by an Illinois lawmaker challenging a lengthy stay-at-home order put in place by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
The DOJ filed a statement of interest in favor of Illinois state lawmaker Republican Rep. Darren Bailey, who seeks to challenge whether Pritzker’s stay-at-home order can remain 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 statement reads.
It continues: “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.”
In April, Bailey won a lawsuit keeping the governor from “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..."
Now Bailey is working to have the motion apply statewide.
The DOJ filing also asked that Bailey's motion be moved out of federal court and back to state court where it originated.
“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 the statement.
Dreiband continues: “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,” Dreiband said.
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