CHICAGO (CBS) — With the current stay-at-home order expiring at the end of the day, and a new modified order beginning tomorrow, Gov. JB Pritzker is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on a lawsuit challenging his emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, a Clay County judge granted Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey’s request for a temporary restraining order, exempting him from the governor’s extended stay-at-home order.
Bailey, a Republican from Xenia, has argued the Democratic governor exceeded his authority by extending the stay-at-home order beyond 30 days.
The Illinois Attorney General has filed an appeal of the Clay County ruling with the Illinois Appellate Court, and later filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court, seeking a direct appeal.
The AG’s office argues state law “does not limit the number of proclamations that the Governor may issue for a single disaster.”
The governor’s appeal notes that he and the two previous governors, Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn, all issued multiple declarations for a single disaster — such as the H1N1 virus outbreak in 2009 and floods in 2011, 2017, and 2019.
“In May 2019, when Governor Pritzker issued a second flooding disaster declaration, extending his emergency authority by 30 days, Bailey himself celebrated these efforts,” the attorney general’s office wrote in its filing.
Normally, the Illinois Appellate Court must first rule on an appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court will hear a case, but rare cases can go directly to the high court when “public interest requires expeditious determination,” according to Supreme Court rules.
The governor’s motion to take the case directly to the Illinois Supreme Court was filed on the same day another Republican lawmaker, John Cabello, of Machesney Park, filed a separate lawsuit in Winnebago County, seeking to lift the stay-at-order for the entire state. A hearing on that lawsuit is scheduled for Tuesday.
“Additional similar lawsuits will likely follow in Illinois courts, which are already minimizing operations, and lead to a patchwork of conflicting orders when concerted guidance is needed,” the attorney general’s office wrote in its bid for a prompt ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court.