The Illinois Supreme Court declined to preemptively jump into a court battle over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) executive authority Monday, despite the state attorney general’s request.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul had asked for a legal review of a challenge lodged by state Rep. Darren Bailey (R) centered on Pritzker’s successive coronavirus emergency declarations. Bailey argued that Pritzker did not have the authority to issue multiple emergency declarations based on the same, ongoing pandemic under the state’s Emergency Management Agency Act.
A Clay County circuit court judge agreed, granting Bailey a temporary reprieve from having to abide by Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
Raoul immediately appealed the decision, and also asked the state Supreme Court to weigh in.
Pritzker acknowledged at his press conference Monday that it would have been odd for the Supreme Court to insert itself into the process at this early juncture.
“It’s an unusual circumstance that the Supreme Court would, in fact, take a case directly from circuit court and not let it go through the normal process,” he said, though adding, “I think it was the right thing to do for the attorney general to seek Supreme Court intervention.”
“They’re not saying they’re not gonna rule on it ever, they’re just saying they don’t want to skip over the appellate court, is my understanding,” he said.
In his request to the state Supreme Court, Raoul pointed to the copycat cases that had sprung up across the state, as well as the still unresolved questions in Bailey’s specific case. Bailey had asked the appellate court to vacate the lower court’s order so he could submit an amended complaint, which it granted. He did not, however, voluntarily dismiss his own case with prejudice, guaranteeing, per Raoul, “a likelihood of future recurrence of the question raised in this case.”
“Indeed, the deleterious effects of the circuit court’s order — even though dissolved — will not cease unless and until this Court makes a definitive pronouncement on the scope of the Governor’s authority to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Illinois residents during a global pandemic,” Raoul wrote in his emergency motion.
Much of the state is currently on track to reopen more nonessential businesses and allow gatherings of 10 or fewer people at the end of May under the governor’s plan, though Chicago and its surrounding suburbs are still seeing a higher concentration of COVID-19 cases than the rest of the state.
As of Tuesday morning, the state had 79,007 confirmed cases and 3,459 deaths, per the state department of health.
Read the Supreme Court order here: