Illinois GOP sues Pritzker over limits on gatherings

(The Center Square) – The Illinois Republican Party is suing Gov. J.B. Pritzker in federal court in an effort to ensure political gatherings can happen heading into the election, despite the governor’s pandemic executive orders limiting groups to fewer than ten.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said the governor is acting like a king.

“And now we see Pritzker continue to restrict funerals, weddings, festivals, youth sports and political gatherings at the same time he marches with thousands of protesters on crowded streets,” Schneider said.

Schneider said he agrees with the same protests Pritzker took part in to decry the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“It was awful [what happened to Floyd],” Schneider said. “They have a right to protest. We support their right to protest, but we just want those same rights when it comes to political gatherings.”

Schneider said the GOP’s challenge of the governor’s order seeking immediate relief is important, not just because it’s an election year and political parties need to meet, network and strategize, but because the governor has shown he’s willing to act against those who don’t comply with his edicts.

“This governor is the same governor that wanted to fine and criminally charge people and small businesses that tried to open their small businesses ahead of his executive order,” Schneider said.

Liberty Justice Center attorney Daniel Suhr said courts recognize Americans still have rights even during a pandemic and an outcome securing those rights would benefit everyone.

He said instead of the governor giving a pass to gatherings he attends leaving open the ability to enforce against others, the First Amendment demands equal treatment.

“For us as voters to make informed choices in the public square about the candidate we support, about the policies we advocate, we need a level playing field,” Suhr said.

The lawsuit seeks to deem the governor’s orders unconstitutional and allow political groups to meet.

The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond.

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