Attorneys argued over the extent of Gov. JB Pritzker’s emergency authority Wednesday, but will have to wait on a decision in the case.
Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grishow said she will rule as soon as possible, but it appears that won’t happen for more than a week. She gave attorneys until Oct. 23 to submit final paperwork that could be used in her decision.
Grishow heard arguments on three issues Wednesday, the biggest being whether lawsuits filed in six counties challenging Pritzker’s authority to issue stay at home orders and other measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic should be dismissed.
Attorney Thomas DeVore, who filed the lawsuits on behalf of various clients, said Pritzker exceeded his authority under state law by issuing orders that affected the entire state, even though not all parts of the state had the same level of outbreaks.
Lawyers representing Pritzker from Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office said the governor doesn’t have to wait until large numbers of people get sick and die before taking action to control a pandemic. They said a plain reading of Illinois law allows Pritzker to take the actions he did.
Pritzker’s attorneys initially argued that DeVore shouldn’t be allowed to make oral arguments Wednesday because he missed deadlines to file briefs, deadlines Grishow said would be strictly enforced. Grishow said that while she wanted her deadlines met, she could allow DeVore to make his case.
Lawyers also debated whether an early July ruling in Clay County that Pritzker exceeded his authority should be vacated. Pritzker’s lawyers said the ruling should be voided because the case wasn’t official back in state court. State lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have the case transferred to federal court.
DeVore said precedent shows the case was back in state court even though an official entry hadn’t been made in court records.
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