CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Supreme Court on Monday turned down Gov. JB Pritzker’s request to immediately weigh in on a lawsuit challenging his authority to extend the statewide stay-at-home order, though the state’s highest court did not rule one way or another on the governor’s powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) had filed a lawsuit in Clay County Circuit Court, seeking to exempt himself from the governor’s mandate. Clay County Judge Michael McHaney last month granted Bailey’s request, ruling Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order “shredded the constitution.”
The governor and the Illinois Attorney General’s office later filed an appeal with the Illinois Appellate Court, and also asked the Illinois Supreme Court to take up the case immediately to rule on Pritzker’s authority to extend his COVID-19 disaster proclamation beyond its initial 30 days.
Bailey has since agreed to vacate the temporary restraining order he was granted, saying he plans to file an amended lawsuit, and the Illinois Appellate Court last month sent the case back to Clay County.
On Monday, the Illinois Supreme Court denied Pritzker’s motion to intervene in the case, but Pritzker said the ruling was not a surprise.
“It’s an unusual circumstance that the Supreme Court would, in fact, take a case directly from circuit court, and not let the case go through the normal process, but I think it was the right thing to do for the AG to seek the Supreme Court’s intervention,” he said. “The Supreme Court is not saying they’re not going to rule on this ever, they’re just saying that they don’t want to skip over the Appellate Court is my understanding.”
Because he agreed to drop the restraining order, Bailey remains subject to the stay-at-home order, and has yet to file an amended lawsuit.
His attorney, Thomas DeVore, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Supreme Court decision.