Judge Blocks Illinois Governor’s Extension of Stay at Home Order

An Illinois Judge has blocked the governor’s wide-ranging stay at home and state of emergency executive order, claiming that Governor J.B. Pritzker has overstepped his authority in seeking to extend the state’s existing coronavirus emergency order for more than 30 days.

Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney issued a temporary restraining order blocking Pritzker’s extension of his initial April 2nd state of emergency order on Tuesday. State law gives the Illinois governor authority to implement a 30-day state of emergency, but Pritzker was seeking to extend the existing emergency to a period of 37 days, stretching into May.

McHaney ruled as a result of a lawsuit filed by Republican state representative Darren Bailey. Bailey’s lawsuit applies purely to the state of emergency restrictions as they pertain to the Xenia lawmaker himself, but the ruling sets up precedent for a wide variety of Illinois litigants to challenge Pritzker’s emergency order in the court system.

Pritzker is resolving to appeal and overturn McHaney’s ruling as soon as possible, expressing confidence that his extension of the state of emergency will be upheld in statewide courts.

Illinois has incurred a grand total of approximately 46,000 coronavirus cases as of Monday, and 50 people died of the disease in the state the same day. State Republicans are accusing Pritzker of utilizing the pandemic to advance a prison break agenda, having released 1,300 prison inmates since the beginning of the emergency.

Pritzker has a strong chance of reinstating his bonus emergency powers in the Democratic-controlled state judiciary, but the ruling could place additional pressure on the governor to prepare an exit plan for the state.