OVERRULED: Federal Judge says Pennsylvania Gov’s covid restrictions go too far

A federal judge has just overruled the Pennsylvania governor, saying his onerous covid restrictions violate the constitution:

DAILY CALLER – A federal judge ruled that Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s gathering restrictions and shutdowns of non-essential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional, numerous sources reported.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV ruled in favor of multiple plaintiffs who alleged that the governor and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine’s restrictions were arbitrary and violated constitutional rights, WTAE reported.

The plaintiffs were originally the counties of Washington, Butler, Greene and Fayette, along with multiple Republican lawmakers, including Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly, although the judge dismissed the county governments from the case. Kelly, Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, and various businesses including hair salons and drive-in theaters won the favorable ruling.

Stickman noted in the ruling that while the Wolf administration’s actions “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” that “even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”



FIRST AND FOURTH AMENDMENT

He determined that the state’s gathering limits violated the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment, and the stay-at-home and business closures violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The business closure components of the orders also violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires the state to govern impartially and treat individuals in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances, the judge’s ruling said.

“The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms — in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble,” Stickman wrote according to WTAE.

“There is no question that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment. The constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures.”

I checked to see who appointed U.S. District Judge William Stickman and it was President Trump. Hopefully, for the sake of the people of Pennsylvania, this judge’s ruling withstands appeal and sticks.

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