MCHENRY COUNTY, IL — A flurry of legal challenges are pending against Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his authority to shut down most of the state's economy. On Wednesday, McHenry County State Attorney Patrick Kenneally filed an amicus brief to the ongoing lawsuit between the governor and Machesney Park Republican Representative John Cabello.
Cabello's lawsuit sought a court order to invalidate Pritzker's power to extend the executive order — which mandates closures for some businesses and allows others, deemed "essential," to partially open — without approval from the Illinois General Assembly.
In the amicus brief, Kenneally argued that McHenry County's businesses and religious organizations are suffering from unfair treatment.
At one point, in a section analyzing the governor's defense, Kenneally wrote that the Illinois Attorney General "is on dangerous ground" when he argues for limiting religious gatherings to ten or fewer while labeling stores like Menards or Walmart as essential services.
"Many devoted practitioners of religion would certainly bristle at the suggestion," the brief continued, "that the pharmacy is more important to their health than communing with or receiving at a church service the god who they are convinced sustains their every breath."
Although the brief does not directly accuse of Pritzker of discrimination, the McHenry County court filing echoes the legal arguments made by churches and small business owners across the state who are also suing the governor. This week, mayors in Joliet and Darien added their names to the list of those objecting to Pritzker's use of his executive order.
Meanwhile, Pritzker announced Wednesday that all four regions of the state are posed to enter Phase 3 of his Reopen Illinois plan, which he said will loosen restrictions on businesses and allow restaurants and bars to reopen provided they have outdoor seating that maintains proper social distancing.
Hours later, at the first legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, Rep. Darren Bailey, a Republican lawmaker from Xenia who is also suing Pritzker over the executive order, by a bipartisan House vote after he refused to wear a mask.