Federal judge denies Gov. Tom Wolf’s request for stay on pandemic restrictions ruling

September 22, 2020 |  By |

“A federal judge on Tuesday denied Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration’s request for a stay on a federal court decision that found some of the governor’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to be unconstitutional.

The Wolf Administration sought the stay while appealing U.S. Western District Judge William Stickman IV’s order that wasissued last week that ruled the governor’s closure of nonessential business, a stay-at-home order and an order to limit gathering sizes were unconstitutional.

In denying the stay, Stickman said, “the public interest would be ill served if the court would grant the stay allowing the unconstitutional measures to remain in place.”

Wolf argued in the underlying case that his actions mirrored those of other governors and said it has saved lives. In seeking the stay while the litigation is heard by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the governor’s team argued staying the decision was necessary to ensure “life-saving mitigation tools … remain in place.”

The lawsuit against the governor and state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine challenging the constitutionality of the governor’s orders was filed a group of seven businesses and their owners, a congressman, three state representatives and Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties.

In his 66-page ruling, Stickman found the governor’s orders, though “well-intentioned” to protect Pennsylvanians from the coronavirus, violated the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

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