Posted by 15 September 2020
This week, a federal judge struck down some of Pennsylvania's coronavirus shutdown orders, finding that they violated the Constitution.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV held that Gov. Tom Wolf went too far in ordering businesses to close and people to stay home. While acknowledging that there was an emergency that prompted these orders, he said, "the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment."
This ruling affects the governor's orders to close businesses, limit outdoor gatherings, and require people to stay at home. Other orders, such as the state's mask mandate, remain in effect.
Gov. Wolf expressed disappointment in the ruling, contending that these orders are vital in stopping the spread of coronavirus. Legislators and business owners who had sued applauded the ruling, saying it justified their claims that the governor was exceeding his legal authority.
The disagreement over the extent of Gov. Wolf's orders mirrors debates happening in other states over coronavirus-related restrictions. This ruling by a federal judge is the first of its kind in finding that a state's orders violate the U.S. Constitution.
Do you think that stay-at-home orders and business shutdown mandates are unconstitutional?