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Judge Rules Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus Shutdown Orders Unconstitutional

A federal Judge on Monday ruled Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down are unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV ruled in favor of several local counties and businesses that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals, according to Breitbart.

The federal lawsuit was filed against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

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.

Liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution cannot be subordinated even during times of an emergency, Judge Stickman IV wrote in his opinion, and the Constitution cannot accept the concept of a “new normal.”

The efforts to stop 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.”

Previous rulings have rejected several challenges to Wolf’s coronavirus orders for businesses to close down during the pandemic.

Since the lawsuit was filed in May, Wolf lifted many of the restrictions allowing businesses to reopen and canceling the statewide stay-at-home order, however his administration maintained capacity restrictions and limitations on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants. The state also imposed a gathering limit of more than 25 people for events held indoors and more than 250 people for those held outside.