Federal Court Denies Gov. Wolf’s Stay Request

| September 22, 2020

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (EYT) – A federal judge today denied the Wolf administration’s request for a stay on the federal court decision that found some of Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to be unconstitutional.

The administration sought a stay on the ruling while also appealing the decision, which was issued by U.S. Western District Judge William Stickman IV last week.

Stickman’s initial order ruled that the Wolf administration’s mitigation policy limiting indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 250 people violates “the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment.”

Stickman also noted that while the orders were “well-intentioned” to protect residents from the COVID-19 virus, they still violated not only the First Amendment but also the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In today’s order denying the stay, Stickman stated the public would be “ill served” if the court chose to allow measures that were ruled unconstitutional to remain in place.

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Stickman went on to write that the Wolf administration “did not proffer any specific evidence to differentiate between the danger allegedly posed by gatherings governed by specific numeric limitations and gatherings governed by occupancy limitations.”

The office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro, which is representing the Wolf administration in its planned appeal, made the request for the stay on the order.

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