SPRINGFIELD — One day before a Clay County judge was set to hear arguments in state Rep. Darren Bailey’s lawsuit over the stay-at-home order in the lawmaker’s home county, the Illinois Attorney General’s office Thursday removed the case to federal court.

Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Thomas J. Verticchio removed the suit to “redress for alleged deprivations of Bailey’s federal constitutional rights caused by actions taken under color of state law,” according to the seven-page filing.

Removal is a process provided by federal statute, and a defendant can generally choose to remove a case from state court if the case could have been filed in federal court from the start. Once a case is removed, the state court no longer has jurisdiction.

Citing Bailey’s amended complaint, the state’s lawyers contend the lawsuit claims the stay-at-home orders violate four constitutional rights, including free exercise of religion, procedural due process, interstate travel and a republican form of state government.

On May 15, Illinois 4th Judicial Circuit Judge Michael D. McHaney denied the state’s motion to relocate Bailey’s lawsuit to Sangamon County.

Thomas G. DeVore, Bailey’s attorney, could not immediately provide comment.

The federal case in the Southern District of Illinois is Darren Bailey v. Jay Robert Pritzker No. 20 C 474.