Pa. virus re­stric­tions ‘un­con­sti­tu­tional’: judge

New York Daily News - - NEWS -

A fed­eral judge Mon­day struck down Penn­syl­va­nia’s coron­avirus re­stric­tions that banned large gath­er­ings and forced nonessen­tial busi­nesses to close, call­ing the or­der “un­con­sti­tu­tional.”

Judge Wil­liam Stick­man ruled in fa­vor of four coun­ties that had sued Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Sec­re­tary Rachel Levine over the rules.

The GOP-led coun­ties were joined in the suit by busi­nesses in­clud­ing hair salons, a farm­ers mar­ket ven­dor, a horse trainer and drive-in movie the­aters.

Stick­man wrote that the state’s pan­demic poli­cies were taken with “good in­ten­tion,” but he said they also were over­reach­ing and ar­bi­trary and vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“There is no ques­tion that this coun­try has faced, and will face, emer­gen­cies of ev­ery sort,” he wrote. s“But 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.” He added the Con­sti­tu­tion “sets cer­tain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emer­gency.”

The Demo­cratic gover­nor had lifted many of the re­stric­tions since the suit was filed May, but he’s kept some lim­its on in­door venues and large gath­er­ings.

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