The U.S. Justice Department has intervened and is supporting an IL state representative who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Pritzker's stay-at-home order.
The Illinois Attorney General's office has filed a request that the lawsuit filed against Governor J.B. Pritzker by St. Rep. Darren Bailey be transferred to Federal Court.
"However well-intentioned they may be, the executive orders appear to reach far beyond the scope of the 30-day emergency authority granted to the Governor under IL law", said Steven Weinhoeft, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of IL. "And while the people of IL must be physically protected from the effects of this public health crisis, including by complying with CDC guidelines their constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties must be safeguarded as well", Weinhoeft said.
Bailey filed his lawsuit in IL state court in April. 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 IL legislature.
"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 almost all aspects of life for citizens of Illinois, significantly impairing in some instances their ability to maintain their economic livelihoods", the department said in a statement.
The Attorney General's Office had earlier sought to have the case moved to another circuit court, but that request was denied by Circuit Judge Michael McHaney. But instead, he removed the case to federal district court. The legal maneuver marks the first time the U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on state level COVID-19 policies that are unrelated to religious matters.
The Justice Department said its filing was part of Attorney General William Barr's initiative in late April directing his civil rights division and a USA attorney in MI to review state and local government policies related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement of interest asserts that the dispute rightfully belongs in IL state court.