A federal judge ruled that Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s gathering restrictions and shutdowns of non-essential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional, numerous sources reported.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV ruled in favor of multiple plaintiffs who alleged that the governor and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine’s restrictions were arbitrary and violated constitutional rights, WTAE reported.
The plaintiffs were originally the counties of Washington, Butler, Greene and Fayette, along with multiple Republican lawmakers, including Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly, although the judge dismissed the county governments from the case. Kelly, Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, and various businesses including hair salons and drive-in theaters won the favorable ruling.
Stickman noted in the ruling that while the Wolf administration’s actions “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” that “even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”
He determined that the state’s gathering limits violated the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment, and the stay-at-home and business closures violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (RELATED: ‘Absolutely