Tuesday, September 15, 2020
A federal judge has struck down Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s CCP virus restrictions that required people to stay at home, put limits on gatherings, and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to stay shut down.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV on Sept. 14 sided with plaintiffs that included drive-in movie theaters, hair salons, farmers markets, and several GOP officials who sued as individuals. Butler, Greene, Fayette, and Washington counties were also listed as plaintiffs.
Stickman’s judgment stipulates that “the congregate gathering limits imposed by defendants’ mitigation orders violate the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment,” the “stay-at-home and business closure components of defendants’ orders violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” and “the business closure components of Defendants’ orders violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The judge, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, argued that the actions taken by Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, who are both Democrats, “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” but that “even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”
“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 said. “There is no question that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort.”