Another GOP lawmaker takes Pritzker to court over stay-at-home order

  • Stay Home signs are seen at Fashion Outlets of Chicago shopping center in Rosemont.

    Stay Home signs are seen at Fashion Outlets of Chicago shopping center in Rosemont. Associated Press

  • John Cabello

    John Cabello

Updated 4/29/2020 6:04 PM

A second lawsuit challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker's authority to enact a stay-at-home order over the COVID-19 pandemic was filed Wednesday by a Republican lawmaker in Winnebago County.

State Rep. John Cabello of Machesney Park argues Pritzker's extension of the order through May 30 is hurting Illinois businesses and jobs.


The legal action follows a lawsuit from state Rep. Darren Bailey of Xenia filed last week. Monday, a Clay County judge issued a temporary restraining order exempting Bailey alone from Pritzker's mandate. On Wednesday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed Bailey's lawsuit, saying the public would suffer "significant harm" if Pritzker's authority was undercut.

Cabello's lawsuit includes himself and other Illinoisans. It claims irreparable harm because people are required to stay at home, beginning with the governor's original order March 20.

"The fundamental right for Cabello, and all persons similarly situated, of free movement to leave their homes and engage in activities as they so desire were arbitrarily stripped away from them by the March 20 executive order, which according to Pritzker could continue into perpetuity as he solely determines," his attorneys argue in the lawsuit.

The Cabello lawsuit asks the court to bar Pritzker or his representatives from enforcing the stay-at-home order and from issuing any similar orders in the future.

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"Even if well-intentioned," the order "took complete control of the free movement of every citizen within the state of Illinois, which for all intents and purposes has created a police state," it argues.

Pritzker on Tuesday said such lawsuits are reckless because they will increase cases of COVID-19 and overwhelm the health care system just as the state was seeing the number of infections level off due to social distancing.

"The stay-at-home order remains in place," Pritzker said at Tuesday's briefing in Chicago. An earlier order ends at midnight Thursday.

"We will not stop this virus if because of this ruling, any resident can petition to be exempted from any aspect of this order. We rely on collective action to keep us all safe," Pritzker said.

Raoul filed an appeal to Bailey's lawsuit with the 5th District Appellate Court and also asked the Illinois Supreme Court to intervene.

The case "is wrong as a matter of law," he argued in a brief. And, the governor "has implemented emergency measures that have saved lives during a crisis that has cost Illinois so much."

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