LOUISVILLE — The lawsuit brought by State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) over Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s coronavirus restrictions is being sent back to the Clay County circuit court.
Bailey sued Pritzker back in April when stay-at-home orders were at their height, with all schools and most businesses closed. Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney issued a restraining order against the executive order that Bailey later withdrew. Pritzker, according to the Belleville News-Democrat, argued that the cases belonged in federal court.
The newspaper reported that Steven Weinhoeft, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, argued in a 21-page statement of interest that Bailey’s suit belonged in the circuit court. On Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Gilbert C. Sison agreed.
“In this instance, in the interest of federalism, the Court finds that the amended complaint does not give rise to federal jurisdiction and that this action is best committed to the courts of the State of Illinois for further consideration,” the judge wrote in his order.
Sison said that he recognized the “enormity of the issues,” but his ruling was only about federal jurisdiction, according to the News-Democrat.
“The stakes are high on both sides of this litigation,” Sison wrote. “There is no easy balance between protecting the public from a silent, fast-spreading, novel virus and preventing great social upheaval and the heavy strain of economic and financial uncertainty.”
Bailey has been one of the most vocal opponents to the restrictions put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, he was ejected from an Illinois House session for refusing to wear a mask in the temporary chambers. He’s also been very supportive of the “re-open” protests that took place in May.