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A federal judge has ruled that Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional.
Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties — and some Republican officials like Congressman Mike Kelly and state Reps. Marcie Mustello, Daryl Metcalfe and Tim Bonner — filed a lawsuit against Gov. Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
They and several businesses said their constitutional rights were violated. The counties were in the “red” phase when they filed the lawsuit in May, saying the restrictions on businesses and gathering limits were unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, an appointee of President Donald Trump, sided with the plaintiffs. Stickman wrote in his ruling that the Wolf administration’s pandemic policies have been overreaching, arbitrary and violated citizens’ constitutional rights.
The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”
Courts had consistently rejected challenges to Wolf’s power to order businesses to close during the pandemic, and many other governors, Republican and Democrat, undertook similar measures as the virus spread across the country.
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