CHICAGO (Reuters) - A state lawmaker in Illinois won a restraining order on Monday against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders in a case that could lead to more legal challenges against decrees by the first-term governor intended to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Illinois State Representative Darren Bailey, a Republican, filed a lawsuit against Pritzker last week, saying the Democrat overstepped his authority when he issued a stay-at-home order on March 20 and then extended it until the end of May.
Stay-at-home orders issued by governors of both parties across the United States and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues in recent weeks as the shutdowns have hammered the nation’s economy.
On Monday afternoon, Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney issued a temporary restraining order blocking Pritzker from forcing Bailey to isolate and quarantine in his home in Xenia, a small community 250 miles (400 km) south of Chicago.
Pritzker said he would appeal the ruling.
History will “remember those who so blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity that they made an enemy of science and reason,” he said after learning of the ruling.
Pritzker added that Bailey’s effort was an insult to the 1,983 people who had died in Illinois from the respiratory virus.
“In the interim, we will be issuing new public health directives so we can continue to respond to this public health crisis,” he added.
Although Monday’s order only applied to Bailey and no other Illinois resident, an attorney for the Republican said he had received heavy interest in similar legal actions against the governor’s order.
“Enough is enough! I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life,” Bailey said in a statement on Thursday when he filed the suit.
Another hearing to review the case is scheduled for next week.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney