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HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled on a lawsuit filed by legislative Republicans, siding with Gov. Tom Wolf and his ability to maintain coronavirus shutdown orders.
In June, the legislature passed a resolution directing Wolf to end the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration and lift all shutdown orders. Wolf fired back, saying the current disaster emergency for coronavirus remains in place and is needed for various assistance programs.
In a ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court said the state General Assembly can’t unilaterally end Wolf’s emergency declaration.
The lawsuit, filed by Republicans in the Commonwealth Court, asserted that the bill passed aiming to end the shutdown cannot be vetoed by the governor. Wolf asked that the Supreme Court decide the case.
In the opinion, Justice David Wecht wrote: "The Pennsylvania Constitution does not empower the legislature to act unilaterally to suspend a law, and the Governor’s purported suspension of law did not violate the non-delegation doctrine. Thus, because the General Assembly intended that H.R. 836 terminate the Governor’s declaration of disaster emergency without the necessity of presenting that resolution to the Governor for his approval or veto, we hold, pursuant to our power under the Declaratory Judgments Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 7532, that H.R. 836 is a legal nullity."
The ruling comes as all but one Pennsylvania county is in the green phase of coronavirus mitigation, with businesses and restaurants reopened under limited capacity directives. Lebanon is the final county to move to the green phase and will do so this Friday.