As the coronavirus pandemic drags onward, Illinois businesses and churches are growing restless. Business owners and churches are stating that they will open in defiance of the stay-at-home order.
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker initially issued a stay-at-home order in March that was set to expire on April 7th. On April 1, the governor issued a second stay-at-home order that lasted through the end of April. He has now extended the order through May 30th with some modifications.
An Illinois Church is Challenging the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order
A church in Lena, Illinois has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block part of the stay-at-home order issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker. In particular, the church is suing over the ban on public worship services. The complaint filed by the church argues that the prohibition of public worship services violates several provisions of the state and federal constitutions. As of now, church members could face warnings and fines, and in extreme circumstances even arrests for going to church.
The leadership of the church has stated that it plans on resuming services in violation of the stay-at-home order. When the governor extended the stay-at-home order, it permitted church services as long as the gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people and the congregants stay at least six feet apart.
The lawsuit points out that the chief deputy director of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, David J. Robinson, stated in a memo that should any Illinois prosecutors attempt to enforce the order, the arrests would not hold up in court.
The lawsuit filed by the church contends that the stay-at-home order infringes on Illinois residents’ right to free exercise of religion, freedom to assemble, and freedom of speech. The lawsuit further alleges that the stay-at-home order violates their guarantee of due process.
These freedoms are considered fundamental rights. Attempts to restrict these freedoms are judged under “strict scrutiny.” The lawsuit concedes that Illinois has a compelling state interest but, even so, their actions and restrictions must be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.
Several Businesses Have Challenged the Stay-at-Home Order
Three businesses have sued over Governor Pritzker’s stay-at-home order. Two Republican lawmakers have brought separate lawsuits challenging the Governor’s stay-at-home order. These lawsuits have three new clients, including the owner of two restaurants and the owner of a hair salon.
The lawsuit argues that the government neither has the constitutional power nor the statutory power to extend the stay-at-home order. The governor has based his authority to issue and extend the stay-at-home order on the Illinois Emergency Management Act. When asked about the lawsuit in a press conference, the governor stated that the lawsuit was a “bit of an outlier.” Critics of the Governor and the Mayor of Chicago have pointed out that neither have strictly adhered to their own orders. The Governor’s family travels freely to their equestrian estate in Florida while the Mayor of Chicago indulged in a high profile haircut, both during a time when they are encouraging residents and businesses to stay at home.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers
The legality of the Governor’s stay-at-home order remains up in the air. Until courts rule on these lawsuits, the stay-at-home order is still an enforceable law. If you have been charged with violating the order, you need an experienced Cook County criminal defense lawyer. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation.