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US Federal Court rules Pennsylvania COVID-19 restrictive measures 'unconstitutional'

A federal court in the US state of Pennsylvania has ruled Governor Tom Wolf's orders to limit gatherings, impose lockdowns and close businesses to contain the novel coronavirus are unconstitutional.

ANI | Washington DC | Updated: 15-09-2020 06:30 IST | Created: 15-09-2020 06:30 IST
US Federal Court rules Pennsylvania COVID-19 restrictive measures 'unconstitutional'
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI

Washington [US], September 15 (ANI/Sputnik): A federal court in the US state of Pennsylvania has ruled Governor Tom Wolf's orders to limit gatherings, impose lockdowns and close businesses to contain the novel coronavirus are unconstitutional. US District Judge William Stickman IV upheld the complaint filed in May by several state counties, lawmakers and business owners who challenged Wolf's draconian orders.

"The Court declares... that the stay-at-home components of Defendants' orders were and are unconstitutional. Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional unless the government can truly demonstrate that they burden no more liberty than is reasonably necessary to achieve an important government end," the judge ruled. The judge also said Wolf's decision to order business closures violated the 14th Amendment, which guarantees a citizen's right to support himself by pursuing a chosen occupation.

"The imposition of a cap on the number of people that may gather for political, social, cultural, educational and other expressive gatherings, while permitting a larger number for commercial gatherings limited only by a percentage of the occupancy capacity of the facility is not narrowly tailored and doesn't pass constitutional muster," the judge said. Governor's spokesperson Lyndsay Kensinger said they are disappointed with the ruling, adding that it does not apply to the governor's mandates for residents to wear masks and work-from-home. (ANI/Sputnik)


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