Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear GOP challenge to Democratic governor’s lockdown orders

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court signaled this week that it would hear a Republican challenge to the state’s ongoing coronavirus-related lockdown.

According to the Washington Examiner, the high court announced on Wednesday that it would resolve a dispute between GOP lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf concerning which branch of government has the power to end the restrictions.

“The constitution is pretty clear”

A number of Republican-backed lawsuits have been filed against Democratic leaders in other states in an attempt to end shutdowns that have come with steep economic consequences.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania’s GOP-led legislature approved a resolution last week that would end the state’s disaster declaration, which was originally enacted in March, the Examiner noted.

Wolf, however, refused to sign it. In a resulting lawsuit, Republicans demanded that the governor immediately end the shutdown, Fox News reported. The litigants took their case to the Commonwealth Court, which is under GOP control, but the governor asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

“I just don’t know any constitutional grounding for what they are doing,” Wolf said, according to the Examiner. “The Constitution is pretty clear on this, but just to make sure we are going to take it to the courts to make sure we are not missing something.”

Republican legislators continue to claim they have the power to end his declaration “at any time,” but Wolf maintains that the state constitution gives him the power to reject their concurrent resolution.

“Required to issue a proclamation”

While the governor has acknowledged the state’s progress in containing the virus, he insists on a gradual phasing out of current restrictions.

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), however, cited “emergency services law” in his argument that upon “passage of a concurrent resolution terminating a disaster declaration, the governor is required to issue a proclamation ending the disaster declaration,” according to The Center Square.

He added that the state Supreme Court “solidified this position in a ruling earlier this year, stating the General Assembly has the ability to terminate the order at any time.”

As for the high court, it confirmed that it will “address the merits of the petitioner’s application in due course,” CBS Pittsburgh reported.

President Donald Trump has voiced his belief that it is time for the economy to open back up nationwide. It remains to be seen whether Pennsylvania’s courts will side with that point of view.

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