A judge has ruled against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, issuing a restraining order to a lawmaker suing over the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, potentially putting the statewide plan in jeopardy.
Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney ruled against Pritzker's order, granting a restraining order to state Rep. Darren Bailey, who filed the lawsuit against the governor.
The ruling only applies to Bailey, exempting him from the stay-at-home order, but it's unclear what impact the legal challenge will have on other state residents.
"We are certainly going to act in a swift action to have this ruling overturned," Pritzker said in his daily coronavirus press briefing Monday.
The ruling comes after Bailey, a Republican from Xenia, Illinois, filed a lawsuit claiming Pritzker exceeded his authority and violated the civil rights of the state’s residents. Pritzker on Thursday extended his stay-at-home order through May 30 as the highly contagious coronavirus continued to spread and infect thousands across the state.
"Enough is enough!" Bailey said in a statement. "I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life.”
Pritzker said he plans to issue new public health directives until the suit is resolved.
"Representative Bailey’s decision to go to the courts is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis. It’s a danger to millions of people who might get ill because of his recklessness," Pritzker said Monday. "Disasters don’t evaporate on a 30-day timeframe. Legislators took this into account when they wrote this law. We will fight this lawsuit to the furthest means possible.
In the interim, we will be issuing new public health directives so we can respond to this public health crisis."
The temporary restraining order only applies to Bailey, according to multiple reports, but others could file similar lawsuits against the stay-at-home measure.
In the latest order, Pritzker relaxed the decree to allow for some outdoor activities and many previously barred surgeries and medical treatments. It allows some retailers to reopen to fill online or pickup orders. The governor is requiring face coverings in public for anyone older than 2, both indoors and outside if the recommended 6-foot social distance can’t be maintained.
“We are in possibly the most difficult parts of this journey,” Pritzker said. “I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. Believe me, if I could make that happen right now, I would, but this is the part when we have to dig in.”
Illinois' public health director reports 1,980 additional cases as of Monday, for a total of 45,883. There were 50 more deaths, bringing the total to near 2,000.
Bailey said the power and authority Pritzker wields in the current crisis "calls for an immediate review and reconsideration of legislative intent.”