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Federal Judge: Gov. Wolf, Dr. Levine's Pandemic Shutdown Orders, Restrictions Unconstitutional


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PITTSBURGH (AP) - A federal judge on Monday struck down Gov. Tom Wolf's pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered "non-life-sustaining" businesses to shut down, calling them unconstitutional.


U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer's market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals.


Stickman, an appointee of President Donald Trump, 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.


Wolf has lifted many of the restrictions since the lawsuit was filed in May, allowing businesses to reopen and canceling a statewide stay-at-home order. But his administration has maintained capacity restrictions and limitations on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants. The state has also imposed a gathering limit of more than 25 people for events held indoors and more than 250 people for those held outside.


A spokesperson for Wolf said the administration was reviewing the decision.

Pennsylvania has reported that more than 145,000 people statewide have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 7,800 people have died.


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5 hours ago, Basset3 said:

Let the lawsuits against Wolf & Levine begin....thousands of them for putting people out of business.

The state still has time to appeal to 3rd Circuit for an en banc ruling.  ...which is a panel of 3rd circuit judges.   A simple majority finding overturns or re-enforces the single court ruling.

I think the state has 30 days to appeal.  Of which, the challenged ruling may be stayed, allowing Wolf's policies to continue.

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Just a few thoughts.  In my line of work, our team works outside, so we have been fortunate not to get shut down in any way.  We were considered an "essential" industry. We were only down a few weeks in March, then right back to work.  But I do feel for the businesses who have been really adversely affected by this.  They shouldn't be shut down or running at less than full capacity. Anyone who is concerned about getting infected should just stay away or wear their mask and go in and out quickly to lessen their chances of infection.  We can't let hardworking folks lose their livelyhoods.  And another thought.  I know our Governor and Health Secretary have made some errors.  However, I think they have been trying to do their best.  I don't think they are on a power trip. They are responsible for all of us.  They didn't get a dress rehearsal.  I don't agree with some things our Governor and Health Secretary have done prior to covid and now, but I won't put them down on social media and say things about their policies, gender, clothing, mother, etc.  That's just ignorant when folks do that.   If we don't like it, we can voice our concerns to our state reps and senators so they can make change.  I have been seeing excellent performance from our reps and senators who are fighting for us.  I think our President and other federal officials are doing their best, too.  Like I said,  they didn't get a dress rehearsal.  We all need to work together and change what needs changed by going through the proper channels.  Taking pot shots at folks on social media doesn't get the job done, just creates more havoc; and we don't need it.  One more thing, I don't mind wearing a mask.  I have a few health concerns for myself and family, so I want to protect.  I wish others would wear one, too.  I think it would help a lot.  However, I can't make them.  If I'm concerned about certain people or situations, I just stay away.

Every day is a gift from God; that's why we call it the "present!"

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