PITTSBURGH (AP) — A federal judge on Monday struck down Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down, calling them unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals.
Stickman, an appointee of President Donald Trump, wrote in his ruling that the Wolf administration’s pandemic policies have been overreaching, arbitrary and violated citizens’ constitutional rights.
The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”
Courts had consistently rejected challenges to Wolf’s power to order businesses to close during the pandemic, and many other governors,