Illinois GOP sue Pritzker over in-person gathering limit
The Illinois Republican Party has sued Gov. JB Pritzker, seeking an exemption from his executive order restricting public gatherings of more than 10 people.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in a federal court, calls for political organizations to be exempted from the order, similar to exemptions given to faith-based organizations.
“Unlike churches, political parties are barred from gathering in groups greater than 10,” the lawsuit says. “And unlike protestors against police brutality, they have not been given an exemption based on his sympathy, recognition and participation.”
Along with the “glaring hypocrisy” of Pritzker and other Democratic officials taking part in large public gatherings and protests in recent weeks, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said during a press conference Tuesday that the order is preventing the party from the necessary work to prepare for the November election.
“This is fundamentally wrong and, as this lawsuit contends, a violation of our First Amendment right,” he said.
The lawsuit comes after the party held a virtual state convention last weekend to comply with the order. Other parties in the suit include the Northwest Side GOP Club, the Schaumburg Township Republican Organization and the Will County Republican Central Committee.
The groups are represented by the Liberty Justice Center, most notable for its victory in the 2018 Supreme Court decision that involved fees paid to public-sector labor unions by workers who choose not to join.
Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said the GOP was trying to score “political points” with the lawsuit.
“The courts have repeatedly upheld the governor’s executive orders as based on public health guidance,” she said. “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.”
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