Opponents of state-imposed lockdowns in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic scored a win in Pennsylvania this week.
A federal judge on Monday struck down mandates put in place by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, dismissing them as unlawful, as reported by Breitbart.
“Open-ended emergency mitigation measures”
Pennsylvania is one of several Democratic-led states to have enacted controversial lockdown restrictions in what many local leaders say was an arbitrary fashion without regard for economic and other impacts.
The state limited indoor gatherings to 25 individuals and outdoor groups to 250. As for restaurants, alcohol had been declared off-limits and seating capacity capped at 25% of pre-pandemic levels.
In his order, U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV struck down a number of those restrictions, including orders that closed “non-life-sustaining” businesses and imposed size limits on gatherings. His ruling does not impact all of the restrictions, however, notably including orders mandating the use of face masks.
Stickman afforded Wolf the benefit of acting with “the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” but found that he does not have “unfettered” authority under the Constitution to make such decrees.
“The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures,” he stated.
“100% in our favor”
Among those to publicly herald the decision was President Donald Trump, who tweeted and retweeted related posts shortly after the news broke.
“Congratulations Pennsylvania,” he wrote in one tweet. “Now we await the decision on the Rigged Ballot Scam, which is so bad for our Country!”
Thomas W. King III, the attorney who represented plaintiffs in the case, classified it as a complete victory.
“It’s really 100% in our favor,” he said. “The court found in all respects that the orders issued by the governor and the secretary of health were unconstitutional. What it means is they can’t do it again, and they should not have done it in the past.”
Wolf, however, issued a statement defending his position and vowing to appeal the judge’s ruling. With Americans increasingly clamoring for an end to lingering shutdowns, it is hard to imaging his stance will gain popularity across Pennsylvania.