Federal Judge Rules Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Lockdown Order Unconstitutional

Headline Roundup September 15th, 2020

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV ruled Monday that Pennsylvania's COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions on gatherings and businesses are unconstitutional. Plaintiffs argued that the measures imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf infringed on the First and 14th Amendments; Wolf's defense argued that the moves were within his power to respond to a public health emergency.

Coverage from right-rated and some center-rated outlets focused on the specifics of the ruling and what made the order unconstitutional in the eyes of the law. Some reports from left-rated outlets concentrated on Trump's reaction to the ruling.

Federal Judge Rules Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Lockdown Order Unconstitutional

From the Left
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Shutdown restrictions ordered by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus were unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday — a decision that was quickly celebrated by President Trump, who said he hopes the decision is followed by similar pronouncements in other states.

The state’s limits on gatherings and closure of nonessential businesses violated the First Amendment and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, according to a 66-page opinion by U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee. The governor’s...

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From the Center
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A federal judge ruled on Monday that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus orders, which shut down the state, closed businesses and limited gatherings, were unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee, said in his opinion that COVID-19 orders from Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine violated and continue to violate the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

The efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good...

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From the Right
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A federal judge on Monday has ruled that lockdown restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), including a ban on large gatherings and the closure of "non-life sustaining businesses," are unconstitutional.

While those restrictions were "well-intentioned," wrote U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, "good intentions toward a laudable end are not alone enough to uphold governmental action against a constitutional challenge. Indeed, the greatest threats to our system of constitutional liberties may arise when the ends are laudable and the intent is good—especially in time of emergency."

In May,...

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