Pennsylvania officials stand by pandemic response after judges rule against orders


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, pictured at a press conference in March, criticized Republicans Tuesday for celebrating a federal judge’s ruling that described some of the state’s pandemic response measures as unconstitutional.

Mark Levy / AP

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Mark Levy / AP

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, pictured at a press conference in March, criticized Republicans Tuesday for celebrating a federal judge’s ruling that described some of the state’s pandemic response measures as unconstitutional.

Mark Levy / AP

One day after a federal judge ruled that pandemic restrictions in Pennsylvania were unconstitutional, Governor Tom Wolfe issued a statement criticizing Republicans’ ceremonial response and urging people to take the coronavirus seriously.

Wolf: “There is no point in discussing an appeals ruling.” He said Tuesday. “But what is not up for debate is that our early and decisive action saved lives.”

Prosecutors, including four Pennsylvania counties, several Republican lawmakers and a number of local companies, filed a lawsuit against Woolf and Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary, in May, alleging that public health orders to shut down businesses and asking people to stay home had been violated. Their constitutional rights.

Some provinces were placed under Stay home orders Starting in March, a statewide order went into effect in April. An order issued on 19 March requested the closure of all “unsustainable life” companies.

These measures were relaxed as counties moved through a phased reopening plan, and as of July 3, the entire state is in Green stage, Where mask requirements, capacity limits and assembly restrictions apply.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Stickman sided with the plaintiffs, finding that business closures that have since been suspended and requests to stay home as well as restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings are unconstitutional.

In 66 pages Opinion Released Monday, Stickman – appointed by President Trump – said the state’s actions, while in good faith to address the public health emergency, were arbitrary and exaggerated.

“The freedoms protected by the constitution are not freedoms for fair weather – they apply when times are good but can be abandoned in times of trouble,” Stickman wrote. “There is no doubt that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every kind. But resolving a national crisis can never be allowed to replace the commitment to individual freedom that is the basis of the American experience.”

State and national Republicans cheered the decision on Monday. Trump shared several tweets on the topic, Write in one It was “wonderful news”.

And in prof statementRepublicans in the Pennsylvania Senate described the ruling as “sincere” and urged Woolf to work with the General Assembly “to come up with real solutions.”

And they wrote, “The governor indicated in his statement that we are returning to the” new normal, “and for a long time we have doubted his ability to dispense with the intervention of the legislature.” The Federal Court upheld that the laws of this country do not stipulate that the ruler establishes the “new normal,” but rather the law [provides] Three separate but equal branches of government have sworn to respect the constitution. “

In pre-prepared remarks Tuesday, Wolf sharply accused the legislature of spreading misinformation about the virus and the state of the economy, as well as failing to help families and businesses affected by the pandemic.

“We need the president and the legislature to be serious about our recovery, and that starts with our responsibility for the virus,” he said. “They are celebrating a court ruling while refusing to help anyone but themselves.”

Wolf said that while he would have done some things differently in hindsight, he would not follow the “irresponsible” demands of the president or state legislature. He urged Pennsylvania residents to continue to make responsible decisions, saying public health and economic recovery were at risk.

Levin Minister of Health He said on Tuesday That people continue to take safety precautions regardless of judgment.

She said that current requests regarding wearing masks, mandatory remote work, safety of workers, buildings and hospitals are still valid, and the ruling does not affect occupancy limits in places such as personal care services, indoor recreational and wellness facilities, entertainment venues, bars and restaurants. .

“These standing orders – and still in effect – were put in place in the absence of any federal leadership at a time when it was necessary to make decisions to save lives,” Levin said. “Saving lives has been the cornerstone of all our decisions, including the orders referred to in the case that have since expired.”

This was not the first attempt to challenge the governor’s actions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In July, The state’s Supreme Court ruled That the Republican-controlled legislature cannot force Wolf to end his declaration of the Coronavirus disaster.

Coronavirus is also coloring the plans for the upcoming elections in which many Pennsylvania residents will vote by mail.

Officials face growing concerns about some tens of thousands of ballot papers it is disposable On the technical aspects, including the perceived mismatch between the signatures on the ballot paper and in the voter’s file.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press mentioned The Pennsylvania State Department has issued directives saying counties cannot reject ballots based solely on signature analysis, prompting several groups to drop a federal lawsuit.

The state reported 1,151 Cases of infection with the new Coronavirus Tuesday, bringing its total to 146,214.

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