SPRINGFIELD (HOI) - The Illinois Supreme Court has suspended a Clay County contempt hearing originally scheduled for Friday. Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul requested the order Monday afternoon.
Pritzker also asked the Court to determine whether he had the authority to issue disaster proclamations and executive orders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He hoped the Court will ultimately reverse Clay County Judge Michael McHaney's controversial ruling on July 2. However, the Court denied Pritzker's motion for supervisory order and moved the case to Sangamon County. Bailey v. Pritzker is now consolidated with Craig et. al v. Pritzker.
Rep. Darren Bailey has long argued against Pritzker's authority to extend his emergency powers beyond 30 days granted under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act (IEMAA). The law allows the governor to respond to public health emergencies with statewide disaster proclamations and emergency powers for 30 days. However, the Attorney General argues Pritzker's multiple proclamations "are consistent with the IEMAA because the Governor has exercised emergency authority for more than 30 days following each proclamation and because the proclamations were issued during a public health emergency."
The Attorney General wrote McHaney's actions in court show "an open hostility to the Governor, his emergency actions, and the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic itself." Clay County is the only court that ruled against Pritzker since the onslaught of lawsuits were filed this spring. McHaney recently ordered Pritzker to appear in his courtroom to explain why he shouldn't be held in indirect civil contempt and put in jail for disregarding the court's decision on July 2. However, Raoul notes McHaney's decision was only a partial summary judgment that "created significant public confusion, which was sown further by Bailey and [Attorney Tom] DeVore, regarding the Governor's authority to protect health and safety during the pandemic."