Sep. 15, 2020

GROVE CITY – As one of the plaintiffs in the case of County of Butler v. Wolf, Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Butler) issued the following statement on Monday’s historic U.S. District Court ruling that Gov. Tom Wolf’s and Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s COVID-19 congregate gathering, stay-at-home and business shutdown restrictions are unconstitutional.

“Federal District Judge William Stickman IV has issued a ruling that Gov. Tom Wolf has acted in an unconstitutional manner in issuing emergency orders closing businesses, placing restrictions on the size of crowds and ordering our citizens to stay at home during the pandemic crisis.

“The court found that the initial purpose of the governor’s emergency order was to flatten the viral curve and to protect hospital capacity, including ICU beds. The court found that the initial emergency declared by the governor was under control and that his emergency powers were no longer needed. The court noted that the governor’s one-man rule should have stopped months ago and that a return to the normal channels of government rule involving the executive and legislative branches of government with its checks and balances should be restored.

“The court found that the governor’s order to close non-essential businesses was unconstitutional for several reasons. The court found that the governor arbitrarily decided which businesses could or could not operate without any valid distinctions. The court found that some businesses were granted waivers to operate and other similar businesses were denied waivers to operate their businesses. The court also rejected the governor’s position that you do not have the constitutional right to work declaring that such a right was inherent within the Constitution in order to preserve liberty and freedom.

“The court declared the governor’s stay-at-home order to be an unconstitutional lockdown of our citizens. The court noted that a lockdown had never been ordered in our nation’s history. The court noted that quarantines were permissible, but only if the person being quarantined had been exposed to the disease.

“The court also found that the lockdown violated our rights to assemble and exercise freedom of speech. The court noted that Gov. Wolf personally participated in large protests without wearing a mask or social distancing, but yet denied that right to every other citizen. The court also noted the many exceptions the governor allowed to his order including the 20,000 people per day to attend the Carlisle car show.

“The court also noted that the governor’s policy team did not include any experts on epidemiology. The court was also disturbed that there were no minutes taken during the meetings nor were there any rules or regulations published by the policy committee to guide the citizenry as to how decisions were being made. The court also noted that the governor never personally attended any of the meetings of his policy committee.

“The court was also concerned that the governor has no plan to stop ruling under his emergency powers. I am pleased that the federal court has ruled, as I have been stating for the past six months, that the governor has not acted in a constitutional manner with his one-man rule and I am hopeful that the governor will abide by the ruling and begin to work with the legislative branch in a cooperative manner to meet the challenges of this pandemic. We must return to the rule of law and that requires cooperative efforts between the executive and legislative branches in order to best serve the citizens of this great Commonwealth.”

Representative Tim Bonner
8th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Ty McCauslin