Federal judge denies Gov. Wolf’s request to stay order invalidating Pennsylvania coronavirus mitigation measures

A federal judge in Pittsburgh said Tuesday he would not allow coronavirus mitigation measures he declared unconstitutional last week to remain in place while Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration appeals the decision.

U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV ruled Sept. 14 that Pennsylvania’s shutdown orders that required people to stay home and placed limits on public gatherings aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania were “well-intentioned” but unconstitutional. He found the orders violated constitutional guarantees of the rights to free assembly, due process and equal protection.

Stickman also issued a final declaratory judgment in favor of the plaintiffs who included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmers market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals.

The ruling means that current restrictions, including ones that limit the size of indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 250 people, can’t be enforced. It also prevents the state from reinstating the stay-at-home order, which was suspended earlier this year.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed papers last week asking Stickman to delay enforcement of his ruling, arguing the ruling “does not consider the manner in which COVID-19 is spread or the rationale for adopting the congregate limits.” The request for a stay also pointed out that other federal judges, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have upheld Wolf’s pandemic shutdown orders.

More here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.