Will County lawsuit challenges governor’s stay-at-home orders
Will County board member Steve Balich. | Will County
The disease is bad, but the cure is worse.
“I’ve gotten all kinds of calls from businesses complaining about why they’re not open,” Balich said. “I don’t have a good answer. People are suffering, people of my district are crying out to me to do something. So I filed this lawsuit.”
He was joined in the suit by Will County Republican Party Chairman George Pearson as well as pet groomer Samantha L. Palya, and Amanda Hameran, who has been classified as a non-essential worker.
Balich said Pritzker’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has been excessive.
“I do believe the virus is a problem for people with conditions,” he told Will County Gazette. “However the deaths in Will County are just over 300 with 4,000-plus cases. The population of Will County is 478,000. Tiny percent of the total population.”
Other factors should be considered, Balich said.
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“There are no numbers for the increased deaths from suicide and other diseases since all deaths are deemed to coronavirus-related,” he said. “There are no numbers for the increase in crime, domestic abuse or bankruptcy. No number of the amount of small business that have lost everything and will not open ever again. There is no number of the increase of crime. The cure is far worse than the disease.”
Balich said Pritzker is acting like a sovereign ruler, not an elected representative of the people.
“King J.B. issues orders and threatens the citizens hoping to stop the revolt which is happening as we speak,” he said. “We Americans can not pushed into science. We Americans will stand up and fight — it’s in our DNA. J.B. issues an order and he gets more suits, and more civil disobedience.”
Indeed, this is not the first lawsuit filed against the governor for issuing a pair of 30-day stay-at-home orders. The first expired April 30 but Pritzker issued a second one effective May 1.
That was challenged by the governor and the case continued before McHaney on May 15. Bailey, a farmer who represents the 109th District, asked for the ruling to be broadened to include all Illinois residents, and the judge granted that request.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Verticchio asked McHaney to move the case to Sangamon County in order to have easier access to government records and witnesses. The judge declined, indicating it seemed like the attorney general’s office was trying to relocate to friendlier ground in the state capital.
“If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s a duck,” McHaney said.
He said the case does not require testimony from numerous witnesses. McHaney set a hearing for 1 p.m. May 22, on a request for a summary judgment on behalf of Bailey, which would end the case without a trial. He is represented by Thomas DeVore, a Bond County lawyer.
DeVore is also representing state Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) who filed a lawsuit April 29 in Winnebago County seeking to lift the stay-home order for all Illinois residents. Cabello also has sought a restraining order from Winnebago County judge to lift the stay-at-home mandate.
Several private citizens, including business owners, are mounting legal challenges to the governor’s orders. Pritzker has remained defiant, saying Bailey’s lawsuit was a “cheap political stunt” and saying he was trying to protect people from a deadly virus.
Balich disagrees. He is a Homer Glen resident who was elected to the Will County Board in 2012 representing District 7. He also was the Homer Township clerk for four years and served as a trustee for eight years.
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