Left Menu
Development News Edition

Trump administration backs lawsuit challenging Illinois coronavirus curbs

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 23-05-2020 11:16 IST | Created: 23-05-2020 08:09 IST
Trump administration backs lawsuit challenging Illinois coronavirus curbs
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

The Trump administration on Friday weighed in on a lawsuit brought against Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's coronavirus stay-at-home orders, with a rare federal court filing in support of the legal challenge he faces over his emergency powers. The U.S. Justice Department's filing in Illinois marked another escalation by the administration in confronting state governors it sees as going too far with restrictions meant to quell the coronavirus pandemic.

The Justice Department asserted that Pritzker, a Democrat, acted improperly when he removed the case in question from state court, where it was filed by Republican state Representative Darren Bailey, to a federal court. A similar lawsuit filed in state court by Republican legislators against Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and his top public health officer led to a state Supreme Court ruling last week invalidating stay-at-home orders there.

The Justice Department said it was intervening under an edict issued by Attorney General William Barr in late April directing his civil rights division to review the legitimacy of state and local government policies related to the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the Justice Department sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, saying his lockdown orders discriminated against religious freedom by prohibiting indoor services while allowing some workplaces, including film studios, to reopen.

A similar letter on Friday to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer questioned whether their local restrictions "may be an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach" to stay-at-home requirements. Both letters and the Illinois federal court filing were signed by Eric Dreiband, assistant U.S. attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division.

Pritzker's lockdown order, like California's, bars indoor gatherings at places of worship but has already survived federal court challenges brought on religious grounds. And in removing Bailey's lawsuit from state court, Pritzker asserted his case also belonged in federal court because Bailey was alleging a violation of rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Bailey has countered that he is challenging Pritzker's stay-at-home orders, not on the basis of constitutional issues but because he claims, they exceed the governor's emergency powers. The Justice Department's statement of interest likewise asserts the dispute rightfully belongs in Illinois state court.

"The federal government has an interest in preventing the limited resources of the federal courts from being drawn into state-law disputes that lie outside of their jurisdiction," it said. President Donald Trump, a Republican who had staked his Nov. 3 re-election bid to the once-robust U.S. economy, has repeatedly agitated for a swift reopening of business activity brought to a virtual standstill by coronavirus lockdowns.

At the White House on Friday, he urged states to allow for the reopening of places of worship over the Memorial Holiday weekend and warned he would override governors who do not.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in the Times of COVID-19

The reverse migration caused by COVID 19 pandemic has put an additional burden of about one crore people on Indian villages particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Besides increasing the risk of spreading the ...

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Videos

Latest News

After Facebook staff walkout, Zuckerberg defends no action on Trump posts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Tuesday that he stood by his decision not to challenge inflammatory posts by U.S. President Donald Trump, refusing to give ground a day after staff members staged a rare public protest. A group...

Protests over George Floyd's death expose raw race relations worldwide

Images of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of African-American George Floyd, who then died, have sparked protests from Amsterdam to Nairobi, but they also expose deeper grievances among demonstrators over strained race relations ...

Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs. Exclusive Lonza sets new goal to make Moderna COVID-19 vaccine ingredientsLonza aims to speed completion of two commercial production lines for Moderna Incs trial COVID-19 vaccine so man...

Reuters Entertainment News Summary

Following is a summary of current entertainment news briefs. BlackOutTuesday sweeps social media as U.S. street protests escalateThe hashtag BlackOutTuesday became the top trending item on Twitter as hundreds of thousands of businesses and ...

Give Feedback