U.S. Constitution 1, Pritzker 0

From Wirepoints, which tells of former State Rep. Peter Breen’s victory over JB Pritzker at the highest court in the land:

Pritzker Wilts Hours Before United States Supreme Court Review, Double-Talks About-Face on Churches – Wirepoints

By: Mark Glennon*

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker Thursday abandoned all restrictions in his emergency pandemic order related to religious services. The Illinois Department of Public health released replacement, voluntary guidelines.

The retreat came hours before the State of Illinois was due to file its response with the United States Supreme Court to an appeal by two Illinois churches for emergency relief from his stay-at-home order.

That appeal would have been handled by Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Elena Kagan who, according to a report by FOX News, could have either handled the case themselves or referred it to the full court.

But now the state has told the Court that the churches’ request is moot because the mandatory rules have been dropped.

The full text of the state’s response does nevertheless include the state’s argument on the merits of its defense.

Pritzker’s announcement that he had reversed positions was uncandid, to say the least.

In his prepared remarks at his daily press conference Thursday he said only that IDHP was posting the new voluntary guidance, but never said his mandatory restrictions were being cancelled. Those comments are below.

He then ducked and equivocated when asked specifically, burying the fact that he was abandoning mandatory restrictions.

When finally asked directly whether the new guidelines would be enforced, he said, “As you know, I have never encouraged any police enforcement or any other kind of breaking up of gatherings.” The Q&A is also below.

But that’s not true.

While Pritzker has gone back and forth on whether enforcement of his order would be left to local officials, his most recent action was to threaten local police and enforcement officials who don’t enforce it.

Chicago has been enforcing the order, sending police to break up church services, making parking for churchgoers impossible and fining churches.

It was “like the Soviet-style KGB” said one pastor about how police tried to break up his service.

Pritzker can spin it as he wants, but here’s how counsel for some of the churches, Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, correctly put it:

Peter Breen

This is a total and complete victory for people of faith. The Illinois’ governor and his administration abused the COVID-19 pandemic to stomp on the religious liberty of the people of Illinois.

By issuing guidelines only and not the previously announced mandatory restrictions, he has handed a complete victory to the churches in Illinois.

Why did Pritzker wilt?

Why did he try to obscure his retreat?

Was it because his “science and data” somehow changed?

Everything he does is based on that and anybody who doesn’t abide is costing lives, he says constantly.

Or was it because he feared having his vast emergency powers challenged in the United States Supreme Court?

I’d say the latter.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Pritzker’s Prepared Statement on May 28:

We will also be posting recommendations for houses of worship, providing more guidance for houses of worship in phase three.

Having received many plans and ideas from responsible faith leaders, IDPH has reviewed many detailed proposals and has provided guidance, not mandatory restrictions for all faith leaders to use in their efforts to ensure the health and safety of their congregants. [Emphasis added.]

This includes suggestions on capacity limits, new cleaning protocols indoor gatherings of 10 persons or less a reduction of activities like sharing food, and the safe conduct of outdoor congregating.

The safest options remain remote and driving services, but for those that want to conduct in person activities, IDPH is offering best practices.

Q&A After Pritzker’s Statement:

Question: Today five churches in Lake County filed a lawsuit against your administration. The  Christian Assembly of God says they run a food pantry out there, which gets state funding, 30 volunteers feeding 1200 people a week, but they can’t have more than 10 people on Sunday for phase three. How do you respond to that discrepancy which they say, just frankly is not fair to them?

Pritzker: Well as regards of food pantry you know I was in East St. Louis yesterday at a food pantry and like many nonprofit organizations they’ve had to make adjustments in order to keep their patrons safe you know to keep the people who use the food pantry safe. I know that lots of organizations have made those adjustments, it isn’t. Nothing is directed here at at a religious organization that happens to have a food pantry it’s really the idea here for everybody for everything and food pantry specifically is just to make sure that those who get served are served in a safe environment so you know we provide guidelines for different kinds of food service, and organizations, you know in grocery stores and so on. So I think those would apply here too.

Question: I’m sorry maybe the pastor is saying they have 30 people in working the food pantry. If they can have 30 people to work a food pantry, you’re going to find so they can only have 10 people in a service. And the discrepancy there has frustrated the pastor.

Pritzker: Well, again, we have guidelines that are now available for the afternoon on the or will be this afternoon on the dceo website. And those are our best recommendations. We’re not providing restrictions. We’re simply providing the best recommendations that we can for keeping people safe. So we hope that the pastor will follow that guidance and those recommendations for his services his or her services

Question: But if there’s no restrictions then you’re not going to be asking for any law enforcement?

Pritzker: As you know, I have never encouraged any police enforcement or any other kind of breaking up of gatherings. What I have said is that pastors should use their judgment and the science and data, and should follow the recommendations that have been made, but I realized that some have ignored that.


U.S. Constitution 1, Pritzker 0 — 22 Comments

  1. I’ll be able to enjoy my mid-summer holiday with or without major Faith’s practicing worship in their facilities.

    But what politician doesn’t try to save face after they’re perceived as a screw up?

  2. This does not incorporate the right to go to church without restriction during a pandemic.

    Only SCOTUS could do that if they make an official ruling, which they have not yet.

    What I mean by that is that people in Oregon aren’t safe to practice their religion because of this.

    Therefore, this isn’t necessarily a victory for the U.S. Constitution and “the free exercise” of religion that you are probably referring to when you say “U.S. Constitution.”

    If Pritzker gives up on this order (which he has) and then SCOTUS punts on it because it’s moot, that would hardly be the win you think it is for the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    “But now the state has told the Court that the churches’ request is moot because the mandatory rules have been dropped” -Glennon

    ^ Sounds familiar. It reminds me of the Supreme Court punting on a recent gun case. New York threw out the gun law that was being challenged by Second Amendment groups, SCOTUS had a chance to rule on laws like that in general, but they chose not to because it was moot. Gun control people cheered for the “right wing” Supreme Court’s decision to not make a decision because it left open the possibility that laws like that could pass in other states or localities.


    We’ll see whether they punt on this or not.

    Remember that Pritzker had actually WON a federal case in northern Illinois and the judge cited two old SCOTUS cases to keep Pritzker’s lockdown in place. Then it was appealed up to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and they too agreed with Pritzker.


    It was a circuit court in Clay County, Illinois that sided with Darren Bailey over Pritzker, and it was the Illinois Supreme Court that refused to review the case.


    So arguably the local/state courts have been more favorable to churches than federal courts.

  3. Pritzker considers himself a ‘freethinker’ a newspeak euphemism for atheist.

  4. Did I miss your reportage on the huge increase in Covid cases since Wisconsin reopening?

    Cheese curds to die for, indeed

  5. There are many things you missed Little Joey Blowhard.
    Like the brains that were handed out when you entered this life.
    As such you have much in common with another blowhard, Lord Jumbo Boy, King of Burgers.
    Now doesn’t that make you feel so very “special” ?

  6. When God was handing out brains, Joey K thought he said ‘trains’ and requested a nice slow one.

  7. Panty-wearing soy boys, like the Zionist mayor of Minneapolis who let his City burn down in chaos, trying to act tough — the cops who stood down and did nothing but run away —– who can blame them?

    These pANTIFAgs like Alabama Shake all need to be leveled — NOW. What is wrong with this place? If they want a war, they need to RECEIVE ONE. Looting and burning private property is not acceptable. Let’s get this party started.

  8. It sounds like I was right.


    Now Glennon is complaining on Twitter (lol) that a journo is spinning this to suit her/his agenda. Talk about a complete lack of self-awareness from this supposed “policy wonk.”

  9. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has weighed in:


    “The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement. Our Constitution principally entrusts “[t]he safety and the health of the people” to the politically ac- countable officials of the States “to guard and protect.” Ja- cobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 38 (1905). When those officials “undertake[ ] to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties,” their latitude “must be especially broad.” Marshall v. United States, 414 U. S. 417, 427 (1974). Where those broad limits are not exceeded, they should not be subject to second-guessing by an “une- lected federal judiciary,” which lacks the background, com- petence, and expertise to assess public health and is not ac- countable to the people. See Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, 469 U. S. 528, 545 (1985).”

  10. Cal should change the headline to “US Constitution 1, Church’s 0” now that the Supreme Court has weighed in and rejected some Californian church’s request for injective relief against Gaven Newsome’s restriction on social gatherings.

  11. This incompetent governor of ours made an absolutely reckless statement yesterday, May 29, 2020, that could result in additional riots, looting and insurrection. Without any proof or data, he said about the MINN incident:

    “The threat that comes to every Black American, under color of law, that they see in a video like that, we’re lucky that that video was ever taken because that is happening around America probably every day.”

    People of Illinois should call for his resignation.

  12. YEAH Fred Flintstone how about kizzie who states on news, you will Be Arrested ! following your suit… of pinocchioism

  13. Wow so now not only has SCOTUS rejected to weigh in on the churches’ claims in Illinois, but they DID take a case in California and THEY SIDED WITH THE GOVERNOR there and the lockdown. What a colossal loss for churches.

    “A 5-4 Supreme Court rejected a request from a church in California to block limitations on the number of people who could attend religious services during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals on the bench, and wrote separately to explain his vote.
    “Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote.
    “Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time,” he said.”

    I told you people that federal courts are not your friend.

    In this decision, Chief Justice Roberts mentioned and defended a case (Jacobson vs Massachusetts) that okays MANDATORY VACCINATIONS, just like that federal judge from Rockford did. There’s your “law and order.”

    Change the title to

    Recognize that all this “law and order” crap that Republicans babble about is a sham. The system is not on your side and it will only get worse. Courts and cops will smash your head and hall you away to jail while you cry about Democrats taking away your freedom. When you lick the boot, you inevitably get the boot!

    Perhaps you would have had more luck if a mosque had sued. Of course, Republicans will never make allies with Muslims EVEN WHEN THEY’RE ON THE SAME SIDE OF AN ISSUE because we know what powerful foreign interests control the Republican Party.

    To answer Cal’s question about why JB backed off, maybe it’s because he doesn’t want to endanger the police who would have to enforce these laws? Maybe it was political because locking down churches for several months is a bad look?

    But to interpret what is going on right now as a Christian victory would mean you live in upside-down world. WirePoints jumped the gun, they were predictably wrong, and I still haven’t seen Glennon tweet about that.

    Wake up. You have the rights that the Supreme Court says you have and nothing more. The Constitution is what they “interpret” it to be at any given point. The government does not in practice believe you have ANY sort of God given rights. Your country is an administrative and police state, not the land of the free.

  14. Absolutely right, Oh.

    Or as the Ninth Circuit said in denying the Church’s request for emergency injunctive relief (which resulted in the Church’s application to the Supreme Court).

    “We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure. In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a ‘[c]ourt does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.’ Terminiello v. City of Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 37 (1949) (Jackson, J., dissenting).” (South Bay United Pentecostal Church vs. Newsom, No. 20-55533, Order at 3 (filed May 22, 2020)).

    One of my favorite Supreme Court pronouncements — the Constitution is not a “suicide pact”. In short, no rights are absolute, and societal necessity may well “trump” constitutional rights and civil liberties. A sentiment Thomas Jefferson agreed with.

    “A strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means.”


  15. Who is to say, Cal?

    You were premature is declaring a “constitutional” victory.

    JB’s change of course is still a victory for people who want to hang out in a Petri dish here in Illinois.

    But your post and headline suggests that JB lost to the US Constitution.

    He didn’t, And now we actually know what actually constitutes a Constitutional victory and…. it ain’t what you think it is!

  16. Oh

    Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), which upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws (smallpox, in that instance), is also instructive of the reach of the police power to deal with public health dangers. A squib should suffice.

    “[T]he liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy. Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others. This court has more than once recognized it as a fundamental principle that ‘persons and property are subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the State, of the perfect right of the legislature to do which no question ever was, or upon acknowledged general principles ever can be, made so far as natural persons are concerned.’ Railroad Co. v. Husen, 95 U. S. 465, 95 U. S. 471; Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. Haber, 169 U. S. 613, 169 U. S. 628, 169 U. S. 629; Thorpe v. Rutland & Burlington R.R., 27 Vermont 140, 148. In Crowley v. Christensen, 137 U. S. 86, 137 U. S. 89, we said:

    ‘The possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order and morals of the community. Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not unrestricted license to act according to one’s own will. It is only freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others. It is then liberty regulated by law.’” (Jacobson, 197 U.S. at 26-27 (“liberty regulated by law”, i.e., ordered liberty)).

  17. Query. If a stay-at-home order during a pandemic is illegal, is a curfew during occasions when rioting is taking place likewise illegal ?

  18. Under Illinois statute, the stay at home order is probably legal for a period not to exceed thirty days.

    Pritzker seems to think he can keep issuing new emergency declarations for the same emergency, which would render the time limit contained in the statute totally meaningless.

    It is doubtful that Pritzker has the legal authority to do this, and any officer enforcing this order could expose himself and his department to potential civil and criminal liability.

    Madigan could have given the Governor’s Office additional authority when the General Assembly last met, but he didn’t want to risk his supermajority by taking such an unpopular vote with an election coming up.

  19. There is no pandemic. Lying should be illegal. It is in God’s book. Remember something about …Thou shalt not…? Not so much in Satan’s world. The riots are fake also, but they ARE happening. Just not by real people that are concerned about others’ welfare. Orders are just orders (like suggestions). Laws are enforceable even if it IS by force and threats of force. Lying to subvert the Constitution IS illegal and it is called treason. The punishment for treason is hanging. Why are the liars not swinging yet? Because too many are following Satan’s lies. God will have the last word.

  20. Billy Bob

    I think you’re probably right.

    If the Governor could indefinitely “extend” any such declaration any express statutory time limitation would be rendered ineffectual.

    Of course, the case before the Supreme Court concerned constitutional (First Amendment free exercise), not state law, issues.

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