September 17, 2020 at 12:28 AM EDT
Courts may reconsider temporary coronavirus restrictions as pandemic drags on
A federal court ruling this week that coronavirus restrictions in Pennsylvania were too burdensome and open-ended may signal a new willingness by some courts to consider whether emergency shutdown rules can run indefinitely, as Americans cope with the likelihood of many more months of a pandemic that is far from contained.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is appealing the ruling Monday that found the state’s limits on gatherings and the closure of nonessential businesses are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV’s 66-page ruling echoes language about individual rights and liberties that President Trump and his aides have used in demanding that states open up. Trump quickly celebrated the decision as a sign of things to come.
The ruling is considered an outlier, however, as most courts have so far upheld the power of governors or mayors to impose restrictions to contend with an urgent public health emergency.
By Anne Gearan and Karin Brulliard