A federal judge ruled on Monday that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus orders, which shut down the state, closed businesses and limited gatherings, were unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee, said in his opinion that COVID-19 orders from Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine violated and continue to violate the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
The efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote.
“But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered,” he added.
“There is no question that this Country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort,” he wrote. “But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment.”