Justice Department backing a lawsuit challenging Illinois stay-at-home order

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CHICAGO, IL – Seems like the Department of Justice is standing behind a lawsuit that’s aimed directly at an Illinois stay-at-home order. This happens to mark the fist time that the DOJ has officially gotten involved in a lawsuit pertaining to the pandemic lockdowns.

On May 22nd, the DOJ filed what’s known as a statement of interest in a lawsuit against Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker.

The suit alleges that the state governor has crossed the proverbial line in the sand that relates to the powers vested into his office.

According to a statement by the DOJ, the following was noted:

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Illinois has, over the past two months, sought to rely on authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to impose sweeping limitations on nearly all aspects of life for citizens of Illinois, significantly impairing in some instances their ability to maintain their economic livelihoods.”

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division also chimed in on the pending lawsuit:

“The Governor of Illinois owes it to the people of Illinois to allow his state’s courts to adjudicate the question of whether Illinois law authorizes orders [Governor J.B. Pritzker] issued to respond to COVID-19.”

Dreiband further noted that the Constitution was crafted in a manner to make it so that power to enact such orders could not be relegated to a single authority. The Assistant AG to the Civil Rights Division phrased it perfectly when he stated:

“Under our system, all public officials, including governors, must comply with the law, especially during times of crisis.”

Steven Weinhoeft, who serves as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, was slightly amicable in his approach toward Illinois’ governor regarding the lawsuit that the DOJ sided with:

“However well-intentioned they may be, the executive orders appear to reach far beyond the scope of the 30-day emergency authority granted to the Governor under Illinois law.

Even during times of crisis, executive actions undertaken in the name of public safety must be lawful.”

Essentially, Weinhoeft said that there cannot be a “ends justify the means” approach when it pertains to the pandemic.

Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey was the man behind the lawsuit against the state governor that was filed earlier in May. In the lawsuit, Bailey stated that Governor Pritzker’s executive order has surpassed the 30-day limit regarding the governor’s emergency powers endowed.

While Governor Pritzker was ordered to respond to the lawsuit by May 21st, the governor opted to move the case over to the federal district court. Needless to say, this will make for an interesting case as it develops, considering the backing the Bailey has now attained.

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This support by the DOJ is hardly surprising, since AG Bill Barr had mentioned the possibility of the Justice Department getting involved in overreaching stay-home orders back in April. 

Here’s the report we ran back on April 22nd related to AG Bill Barr’s comments on said overreaching: 

For governors that have been piling too many restrictions on citizens pertaining to COVID-19 lockdowns, AG William Barr recently said that they could be subject to civil suits – and the DOJ may side with the plaintiffs filing them.

With the numerous governors that have enacted various “stay-at-home” orders across the country, there have been instances where residents of certain states have been citing overreaching executive orders regarding certain implementations of them.  

AG Barr recently appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, where the show host brought up the question of whether citizens who feel as though certain lockdown orders are going too far would be able to successfully sue state officials:

“Will citizens be able to use either the 5th Amendment’s prohibition on condemnation without compensation or 42 USC 1983 to bring actions against the governments that were obviously indifferent to that blunt instrument’s time to be put away?”

For those unaware, 42 USC 1983 that Hewitt references is noted as “civil action for deprivation of rights.” Essentially, the code states that if someone’s “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” gets infringed by the government, then they can sue for damages.

Barr responded to the question, noting that it was a rather generalized hypothetical posed. He explained that without any facts, or a broader outline of the proposed scenario, that he couldn’t deliver an honest answer.

The reality of possible lawsuits being levied at certain states has been a hot topic over the past few weeks. Even President Trump had taken to Twitter to express his concerns on overbearing lockdown measures.

So, it makes perfect sense to ask questions of this nature to one of the best sources of information, AG Barr.

Hewitt pressed on with the topic and dug in a little deeper with Barr, reiterating 42 USC 1983:

“But theoretically, we also have 42 USC 1983, and it has occurred to me that if someone gets out of control, the best answer is not screaming at your television.

It may be to litigate against individuals who are abusing our rights. And that is a long-standing tradition in the United States. It happens.”

At that point, Barr stated that if/when the time comes to look into law suits against those holding power within the states, then the DOJ would review them accordingly:

“Well, if people bring those lawsuits, we’ll take a look at it at that time. And if we think it’s, you know, justified, we would take a position. That’s what we’re doing now.”

Barr explained how the DOJ is keeping a close eye on the unrest developing over overreaching orders to stay home throughout the U.S.:

“We, you know, we’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place. And if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them. And if they’re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statement of interest and side with the plaintiffs.”

While Barr would clearly prefer a smooth transition back to a reopened economy, he once again stated that if civil action is brought against the states, the DOJ will review those cases:

“We’re at sort of a sensitive stage where we’re really transitioning to starting a process of trying to get the nation back up and running, you know, I think that’s the best approach. As lawsuits develop, as specific cases emerge in the states, we’ll take a look at them.”

What this all means is that there’s going to be some scrutiny applied when local and state officials attempt to keep lockdowns either needlessly long or enact restrictions that are over the top. Without naming any specific governors that should be mindful, I’m sure there are a few that come to people’s minds.

For those interested, you can watch the entire AG Bill Barr interview below:

 

Editorial: IL governor uses Illinois workers at Wisconsin horse farm while telling people to stay home

This editorial is brought to you by a former Chief of Police who is a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

SPRINGFIELD, IL.- “Hey peasants! Rules are meant for thee, not for me!”

By now, Americans should realize that there are two sets of rules during the current version of America Held Hostage: The Coronavirus Edition.

While Americans are getting summoned to court for having the audacity to work out or wind surf on an open ocean, the ruling class is playing by their own rules. The latest example of hypocrisy comes courtesy of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Of course, hypocrisy is nothing new to Pritzker. Back in April when Pritzker was asked about rumors that his wife and daughter were not in Illinois but in fact were in Florida, Pritzker became defensive, no make that combative.

“My official duties have nothing to do with my family. So, I’m not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate and I find it reprehensible.”

Now back to your corner, serfs!

This past Friday, Pritzker finally admitted that his wife and daughter were in Florida at an “equestrian farm” that he owns there. He says they were allegedly there prior to his stay-at-home order issued in March.

Equestrian farm? Wonder how many of the hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents currently forced out of work by Pritzker own equestrian farms? But I digress.

Pritzker’s latest case of thumbing his nose at Illinois residents was uncovered this week by Fox 32 Chicago. According to the news outlet, Pritzker has a huge construction project going on at a horse farm he owns in Wisconsin.

Wait a minute…equestrian estate in Florida, horse farm in Wisconsin? Just like his constituents, right?

 

Normally, having construction done would not be that big a deal, although I would venture to guess most Americans cannot relate to having construction done at their SECOND horse farm.

What makes this particular project so, shall we say, interesting is that according to Fox 32, construction workers FROM Illinois, which is subject to Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, are working on the project.

Pritzker, a billionaire (lest we forget), currently has most businesses in Illinois shuttered, with no foreseeable end in sight. According to CNN, last week Pritzker said that citizens of Illinois may be required to “mask up” and social distance indefinitely.

Earlier this week, Pritzker threatened business owners with prison for up to one-year if they attempted to reopen. This, mind you as violent felons are being released from jail in his state.

Fox 32 witnessed construction workers from Illinois cross the state line into Wisconsin to work on Pritzker’s farm, however when asked about the obvious double-standard, Pritzker said no such thing existed because construction workers are exempt.

I guess the visual of some Illinois workers being deemed “essential” to work on Pritzker’s multi-million-dollar horse estate didn’t occur to him.

The news station went to the horse farm in Kenosha County, Wisconsin where they found in excess of 20 construction workers, a majority from Illinois, working on the farm, building a huge home and several outbuildings on the property.

Fox 32’s Dane Placko, who went to the farm noted he didn’t get welcomed with open arms.

Anything better to do?” one woman asked him.

“Well we’re just doing a little story about the governor’s property,” Placko replied.

“Which is really stupid,” the woman replied.

Placko asked her why she felt that way.

“Cause he’s doing a great job, don’t you think?” the woman snarled back.

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Fox 32 obtained the permits for the 7,000 square foot, $2.5 million project (talk about optics), and discovered that a number of people who would be working on the project were from the Land of Lincoln.

They noted that all of the contractors listed on the permits save one were based either in Chicago or its suburbs. When workers left the project for the day, cars and construction equipment with Illinois plates were seen heading back into Illinois.

Fox 32 noted that some neighbors are not happy with the project, and especially the message it seems to send.

“Just crazy. I drive by all the time and there’s at least 20, 30 trucks a day working on this place. Which is great, keep people working. But you don’t want our Illinois residents working. I really don’t understand that,” said a resident named Mike Wendricks.

Emperor Pritzker, however, was  having none of it.

“First of all, they’re operating an essential function. Construction is an essential function.”

Here’s the money shot

“And second of all, they’re union employees that are gong to do the work that they do,” he said.

Ah, union employees. As a Democrat, it’s vital that Pritzker suck up to the labor unions.

“And I’ve never said people can’t cross the border to another state,” Pritzker added.

Well, that part doesn’t seem to be exactly true. In the FAQ section of the most recent update to Pritker’s stay at home order, it says:

Where does the Stay at Home order apply? The Governor’s executive order includes the entire state. Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity you should stay home. Work from home is permitted and encouraged where possible.

And another:

Can I alternate my “staying at home” between my primary home and my vacation property? No—traveling back-and-forth to a vacation property is not Essential Travel.

Republicans in the state have been understandably critical of Pritzker’s obvious double standard, while noting that it’s the height of hypocrisy for Pritzker to use Illinois construction workers on his out-of-state project.

“He’s saying they don’t want to have any unnecessary travel,” said state Rep. John Cabello. “It seems as though he has one set of rules for himself while everybody else has to abide by his stay-at-home order.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department is supporting a lawsuit which is challenging Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders.

According to NPR, the department on Friday filed a statement of interest in the case, which in part states that the coronavirus measures in the state exceed the limits of his office.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Illinois has, over the past two months, sought to rely on authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to impose sweeping limitations on nearly all aspects of life for citizens of Illinois, significantly impairing in some instances their ability to maintain their economic livelihoods,” the DOJ said in a statement.

The filing says that the order violates a 30-day limit on the governor’s emergency powers put in place by the state legislature.

This comes on the heels of a move by Pritzker to criminalize businesses who violate his mandate to remain closed.

He amended Illinois Department of Public Health rules so business owners could now be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for violating the closure order, which went into effect Friday and subjects business owners to a fine of $2500 and one year in prison.

 Since the rule was filed as an “emergency rule,” it would be effective for at least five months.

*** UPDATE ***BIG WIN! They pulled this rule from being voted on!!!Gov. Pritzker and the IDPH want to make it a…

Posted by John M. Cabello on Saturday, May 16, 2020

So, while Pritzker can use Illinois workers to perform the so-called “essential business” of expanding his multi-million-dollar estate in Wisconsin, small business owners, some of whom are virtually starving to death, are looking at jail time and a substantial fine.

Welcome to the Socialist States of America.

Illinois Governor admits: during stay-at-home order, his wife, daughter went to Florida

May 18, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor J.B. Pritzker has some explaining to do. He was recently asked about the whereabouts of his wife, Mary Kathryn Muenster, during the “stay at home” order that he imposed on all Illinoisans. 

During an April press conference, the governor was asked about:

“Where’s the first lady? Is she accompanied by a state security detail? Has she engaged in nonessential travel? What is your response to people who say the state home order and nonessential travel bans aren’t being abided by your family?” 

As Breitbart so eloquently stated:

“The governor initially refused to address the rumors of his wife’s whereabouts, contending that it was ‘inappropriate’ and ‘reprehensible’ that a reporter for the Patch covered the story.”

So, why would the governor be so opposed to answering the questions? Could it be that he would be exposed for allowing his family to circumvent the very orders he was forcing on the other 12.67 million residents of the state? 

Turns out his wife and daughter went to Florida and Wisconsin to visit an estate and a farm that the billionaire owns. 

“My wife and daughter were down in Florida in early March and, in fact even a little before that, and you know, they sheltered in place when the stay-at-home order came up,” he said.

“And they stayed there until very recently, so you know we’ll say, you know, we have a working farm. They’re there now. There are animals on that farm. That is an essential function to take care of animals at a farm.”

So, two questions for the governor. 

First, what is early March? The Illinois order was issued on March 20th. If they were already in Florida when the lock-downs started, then they get a pass on that one. 

Question number two, can you define a working farm? 

The dictionary defines it as “a farm whose agricultural land and buildings are in active use for crop production and/or the raising of livestock.”

So, to clarify for the governor, if his farm is a working one as he claims, there are people there working that farm, most likely full-time. Their jobs would include the welfare of the animals and livestock, which Pritzker’s order deemed essential activity. 

Driving to the farm from another state to supervise the people working there would not be considered an essential activity. 

And let’s not forget the governor’s feigned disgust at being asked about his wife. 

“Well, first of all, I want to say that in politics, it used to be that we kept our families out of it,” Pritzker said. “You know, my official duties have nothing to do with my family, so I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate, and I find it reprehensible, honestly, that that reporter wrote a story about it.” 

Some believe that the translation for that is: “Do as I say, not as I do.” 

Ordinarily, most people might agree that families should be off-limits. But this time in our lives is anything but ordinary. 

Also, the Illinois Executive Order mandates local, county and state police to enforce the order saying:

“This Executive Order may be enforced by State and local law enforcement pursuant to, inter alia, Section 7, Section 18, and Section 19 of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305.”

For the record, Section 7 actually allows for the imposing of property and asset seizure by the state. It also allows for the state to do the following:

“Control, restrict, and regulate by rationing, freezing, use of quotas, prohibitions on shipments, price fixing, allocation or other means, the use, sale or distribution of food, feed, fuel, clothing and other commodities, materials, goods, or services; and perform and exercise any other functions, powers, and duties as may be necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.

“During the continuance of any disaster the Governor is commander-in-chief of the organized and unorganized militia and of all other forces available for emergency duty. To the greatest extent practicable, the Governor shall delegate or assign command authority to do so by orders issued at the time of the disaster.”

Long story short, violation of the order is punishable by fines and possible arrest. 

According to WTTW:

“Chicago’s interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck said that Warnings may not qualify as a penalty, but there is the possibility for arrest. Beck noted that people can also be fined up to $500 for failing to obey an officer who is enforcing a health order.

“Additionally, he said if there is continued noncompliance, the police department could begin treating violations of the governor’s order like traffic citations, in which the offender doesn’t get a warning and is instead cited upon being observed.

“‘I don’t want to go there,’ he said. ‘I want to do the warnings, but I would need people not to put us in that position in the first place.'”

It almost sounds like he is saying that it would be a citizen’s fault that police would violate their Constitutional rights.

“Beck said there is ‘very specific language’ in the city’s Municipal Code that allows his department to enforce the governor’s order.

“‘If a police officer is enforcing a health order and the person refuses,’ he said, ‘that is absolutely cause for citation and/or arrest and fine up to $500.’

“And rest assured, people in Chicago have been arrested for violating the stay at home order. 

“‘Follow the law,’ Beck said. ‘Don’t make us enforce the law through citation and arrest. Follow the law voluntarily and we wont even have to get to this point.’”

Now, back to Pritzker’s refusal to answer the questions about his family. 

As the reporter mentioned, did she travel with a security detail? Did her staffer join them on any of these trips? 

If the answer is affirmative to either of these, it is no longer about an off-limits family member. It is now about accountability and transparency for tax-payer funded positions being mandated to violate the same order. And let us also not forget that the First Lady isn’t solely a wife, she is a public figure. 

Kayleen Carlson, the executive director of Illinois Rising Action, told Breitbart News:

“What’s inappropriate is the Pritzker family’s track record of abiding by the rules only when it suits them. The first lady has a taxpayer-funded staffer and two taxpayer-funded offices – so her whereabouts are not off limits.”

Meanwhile, also in Illinois, about two weeks ago Law Enforcement Today brought you the following story about Chicago’s mayor. 

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, there are two sets of rules—one for the ruling class and one for the peons.

A couple of weeks ago, we had New York City mayor Bill de Blasio issuing a stay at home order for the serfs in New York, while he decided he was going to go work out at the YMCA.

Now, we have Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot deciding that she needed to get her haircut, stay at home order be damned. After all, she’s “important.”

“I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye,” Lightfoot told a reporter“I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut. I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”

You see, she just makes the rules, she doesn’t have to live by them. 

Lightfoot probably didn’t realize her little soiree was going to be posted to Facebook. On Sunday afternoon, a woman posted photos on Facebook in which she stated she “had the pleasure of giving Mayor Lightfoot a hair trim.”

So, the mayor “take[s] her personal hygiene very seriously.” Does she not think that the other 1.49 million other women who live in Chicago might also take their “personal hygiene very seriously?”

But you see, that is not important. Because Lightfoot is “important.”

“I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.

Lightfoot defended her actions by saying she is “practicing what I’m preaching,” since the hair stylist who did her haircut wore a mask and gloves.

So, the thousands of other barbers and hair stylists who are out of jobs in Chicago because their jobs are considered “non-essential” cannot have the same opportunity to earn a living by wearing PPE while giving haircuts? Talk about hypocritical.

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Of course, like a good politician Lightfoot tried to deflect her own hypocritical choice by switching the narrative.

“I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” Lightfoot continued.

Ironically, Lightfoot had made PSA’s in which she advised residents to “stay home, save lives” where she told said to someone off-screen, “Getting your roots done is not essential.”

Maybe only for the little people but not for an “important” big-city mayor apparently.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot made the videos after she shut down the Lakefront Trail and rebuked residents who were not obeying the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“Congregating on our lakefront, to be blunt, is going to create a risk that is unacceptable and could lead to death. That is why we are taking these actions and going back and saying again: dear God, stay home, save lives,” she said.

That is, unless you need to get a haircut and you’re the mayor.  

Lightfoot is the consummate hypocrite. Her PSA’s are a mix of serious and not-so-serious scenarios.

She also told a Tribune reporter that she’s a fan in particular of a video that has gone viral, of Italian mayors yelling at citizens for not obeying public health orders, which included one who threatens to send police to crash graduation parties with a flamethrower.

Carlos-Ramirez-Rosa, a fellow Democrat, wasn’t buying Lightfoot’s explanation.

“She is under no obligation to look good on national TV. She is under no obligation to book national interviews. But she is under an obligation to follow and promote social distancing in order to save lives,” he wrote in a tweet. “This is a bad example for our city.”

When asked about Lightfoot violating his order, the governor said that he couldn’t address the mayor’s situation, but he himself had not had a trim since his order.

“I’m going to turn into a hippie at some point,” Pritzker said.

So, we can all sleep well at night knowing that while people such as Lightfoot and others have put millions of people out of work, destroying our economy, in many cases without rhyme or reason, they can still get their hair done because after all, they are special.

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