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Federal judge finds PA’s COVID lockdown unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that the COVID lockdown measures in Pennsylvania, that were narrowly targeted at some businesses and excluded other businesses, by PA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) are unconstitutional.

“U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV,” says the Associated Press, “who was appointed by President Donald Trump, sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders in their lawsuit against Wolf, a Democrat, and his health secretary.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said that the judge sided with them because the government in Pennsylvania exceeded their authority on COVID measures.

“It’s really 100% in our favor. The court found in all respects that the orders issued by the governor and the secretary of health were unconstitutional. What it means is they can’t do it again, and they should not have done it in the past,” said Thomas W. King III, who represented the plaintiffs.

The state government will appeal the decision according to a spokesman for Wolf’s office.

“The actions taken by the administration were mirrored by governors across the country and saved, and continue to save lives in the absence of federal action. This decision is especially worrying as Pennsylvania and the rest of the country are likely to face a challenging time with the possible resurgence of COVID-19 and the flu in the fall and winter,” Lyndsay Kensinger said in a written statement.

President Trump, who, with other conservatives, feel that the Democrats are delaying the reopening of the economy to hurt Trump’s reelection chances, wasted no time in championing the decision, hoping other states are forced to reopen.

“We hope that’s going to happen in North Carolina,” said the President. “We hope it’s going to happen in Michigan, too, because it’s just totally shut down.”

One business owner says that the restrictions have caused her to come close to losing her livelihood.

“Would I have liked to stay open? Yes. We didn’t want to be in some of those numbers that they considered non-essential businesses should not be open,” Ann Turner, a salon owner in Philadelphia told local ABC 6. “It has been a challenge being a small business trying to survive COVID-19.”

Still, the judge left some restrictions in place.

“The judge said the plaintiffs did not challenge Wolf’s occupancy limits, and his ruling does not impact those orders,” says the AP. “Nor did the lawsuit challenge the Wolf administration’s order requiring people to wear masks in public.”

PHOTO: Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP

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