(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that a southern Illinois judge set a dangerous precedent by ruling in favor of a state lawmaker who filed a lawsuit challenging his stay-at-home order.
The governor hit back at state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who won the first round of a legal battle that could go to the Illinois Supreme Court. Pritzker said he has great respect for the judiciary, but called the lawsuit a “charade” and a “political stunt.”
The governor said most people understand and support the state’s stay-at-home order, but he said some were trying to use the COVID-19 pandemic for political gain.
“I think there was a poll yesterday that showed the vast majority of people in the state – whether they are Democrats or Republicans – support the stay-at-home order, so I don’t think there is a partisan divide,” the governor said during a news conference in Chicago. “I do think that there are a few people who are trying to take political advantage at the moment – in the middle of the pandemic that is killing people – they’re politicizing it.”
Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney ruled in Bailey’s favor on Monday.
“Every second this Executive Order is in existence, it is in violation of the Constitution and shreds the Bill of Rights,” the judge said.
Also on Tuesday, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 2,219 new cases COVID-19 in Illinois, including 144 additional deaths. That’s the highest number of deaths reported in a single day since the first case of the new coronavirus was reported in Illinois.
Statewide, public health officials have confirmed 48,102 cases, including 2,125 deaths, in 96 of the state’s 102 counties.