A southern Illinois judge on Monday blocked Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed plan to extend the state’s stay-at-home order after a Republican state lawmaker argued that the governor overstepped his authority in his fight against Coronavirus.
Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) claimed in the lawsuit filed last week that Gov. Pritzker has exceeded his authority and is violating the civil rights of the state’s residents by extending the stay-at-home order for an additional 30 days.
On Monday afternoon, Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney granted Bailey’s request for a restraining order to temporarily block the governor’s latest executive order, ruling Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order “shredded the constitution.”
According to CBS affiliate WCIA-TV, the judge’s ruling will open the door for others in Illinois to join the lawsuit, or file their own.
Pritzker said the state Attorney General’s Office will appeal the ruling.
“My team and I will fight this legal battle to the furthest extent possible, to ensure the public health and commonsense, and that those prevail,” he said. “This ruling has put the people of Illinois at risk. I sincerely hope that this matter will be brought to a swift resolution so that we can go back to placing our undivided attention on the work of keeping people safe.”
Pritzker lashed out at Bailey, accusing him of putting the public in danger.
“Rep. Darren Bailey’s decision to take to the courts to try and dismantle public health directives designed to keep people safe is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis, and it’s a danger to millions of people who may get ill because of his recklessness,” Pritzker said shortly after the ruling. “It’s insulting, it’s dangerous, and people’s safety and health has now been put at risk; there may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done.”
The governor said his stay-at-home order has prevented tens of thousands of COVID-19 illnesses and thousands of deaths.
“Painful as our actions might be, the question boils down to life and death. COVID-19 is responsible for denying the people of Illinois the precious moments of togetherness and steadiness of routine that have been put on pause in response to this global pandemic,” Pritzker said. “History will remember those who put politics aside to come together to keep people safe. It will also remember those who so blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity that they made an enemy of science, and of reason.”
Illinois officials reported 50 new deaths related to COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total statewide death toll to 1,983. The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 1,980 new cases, for a total of 45,883 in Illinois.