* ILGOP yesterday…
In a press conference this morning, the Illinois Republican Party announced they have filed a federal lawsuit against Governor JB Pritzker for his violations of the First Amendment. In recent weeks, the Governor has selectively endorsed and participated in large scale rallies and gatherings of thousands of individuals not practicing social distancing. Meanwhile, his COVID-19 executive orders ban Illinois Republicans, and other groups, from gathering in groups larger than 10 people.
“Governor Pritzker is ruling Illinois like an unaccountable king where only he gets to decide which violations of his executive order have his blessing. The Illinois Republican Party will not sit idly by while the Governor of Illinois applies one rule for himself and his political allies and another rule for everyone else. We agree that peaceful protesters have just cause to exercise their first amendment rights, but they aren’t the only ones. The days of Governor Pritzker picking winners and losers is coming to an end. The hypocrisy has to end. The violation of our First Amendment rights has to end.” - ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider
This past week, the Illinois Republican Party was forced to hold its’ quadrennial convention virtually, eliminating in-person collaboration, networking, and training. The 2020 general election is five months away and the only opposition to Pritzker and Illinois Democrats’ control is indefinitely barred from meeting for normal party functions.
This isn’t the first time Governor Pritzker has played by a different set of rules. When restrictions barred travel to vacation homes and the Governor lectured Illinoisans daily about not crossing state borders, Pritzker’s family was traveling to and from their equestrian estates in Florida and Wisconsin. And now, we see Pritzker continue to restrict funerals, weddings, festivals, youth sports - and political gatherings - at the same time he marches with thousands of protesters on a crowded street.
The lawsuit was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The Illinois Republican Party will be represented by the Liberty Justice Center.
* From the lawsuit…
Political parties are for political expression what churches are for religious expression: the corporate manifestation of speech and interaction within a community of shared belief. Political parties’ events and rallies are also like protest rallies and marches. And like churches and marches, political parties operate in a world where time matters; the 2020 election is only months away. Also similarly, they operate best in a physical setting; in-person contact is the most persuasive form for communicating ideas.
Yet, unlike churches, political parties are barred from gathering in groups greater than 10 under the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-38. And unlike protestors against police brutality, they have not been given an exemption based on his sympathy, recognition, and participation. This disparate treatment of similar expressive activities violates both the First and 14th Amendments.
* Public Radio…
“This is about scoring political points and criticizing civil rights protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. The courts have repeatedly upheld the Governor’s executive orders as based on public health guidance. And as the Republicans who attended protests against the public health guidance are well aware, the State has never prevented people from exercising their First Amendment rights” said Jordan Abudayyeh, the Governor’s Press Secretary, in a statement. […]
Mary Morrissey, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois:
“We recall large groups of Republicans freely gathering at the Capitol and in downtown Chicago to protest Governor Pritzker’s handling of how to reopen the state without legal ramifications. This lawsuit is a distraction from the real issue — a Republican president who the IL GOP considers the ‘man of our time,’ but has let over a hundred thousand Americans die because of his inaction. We support Governor Pritzker and the exemplary leadership he’s shown throughout this public health crisis,” said a prepared statement, from Mary Morrisey, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
* The ILGOP is also fundraising off the issue…
As you can imagine…suing a billionaire governor is expensive. We’re expecting Governor Pritzker will throw whatever he needs at this battle to silence it. But we won’t stop fighting, especially if we have you behind us.
Can you chip in $5, $10, $20 or whatever you can afford to our official Sue JB Pritzker Fund?
We’re relying on donations from supporters throughout the state to break through this case and bring justice to our state.
Don’t sit this one out. This is big time.
The attorney general handles lawsuits like this one.
*** UPDATE *** The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled against a church which wanted to prevent Gov. Pritzker from ever reimposing his 10-person limit on church service attendance. From that opinion…
Feeding the body requires teams of people to work together in physical spaces, but churches can feed the spirit in other ways.
As can political parties.