A hairstylist and salon owner is the second Clay County plaintiff challenging the governor’s constitutional authority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sonja Harrison is suing as the owner of her hair salon, Visible Changes in Louisville, which has been closed since Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first order was issued March 20.
Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, which he extended through May 31, does not allow “nonessential” businesses such as hair salons to be open.
The new complaint in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court comes after downstate lawmaker Darren Bailey sued the governor for exceeding his authority under the state’s emergency management act.
Circuit judge Michael D. McHaney granted Bailey’s motion for a temporary restraining order in Bailey’s case late last month.
Bailey, R-Xenia, then asked the 5th District Appellate Court to vacate McHaney’s order to allow him to file an amended complaint. The appeal court agreed to vacate the order in a unanimous rule 23 opinion, issued May 1.
Harrison’s lawsuit also disputes the governor’s emergency power, arguing the state must follow its own Illinois Department of Public Health Act guidelines regulating business closures during a viral outbreak.
“The legislative branch … placed the supreme authority over closure of businesses due to public health risks within the Department of Health pursuant to the IDPHA,” the lawsuit states.
Pritzker’s abuse of his executive power “is in no way consistent with the significant procedural and substantive due process rights,” afforded under the IDPHA, according to Harrison’s lawsuit.
The statute allows the department to close a business if immediate action is required to protect the public from a dangerous disease but after 48 hours, the department must obtain consent of the owner or a court order.
Harrison’s lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment from the court that Pritzker lacks the authority to close her business, and a preliminary injunction to prevent the governor from enforcing his order to close her business.
In an appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Y. Raoul asked the court to use its supervisory authority under Rule 383 to answer the question of whether Pritzker has the authority to enforce his stay-at-home orders under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act.
Raoul withdrew his initial appeal to the high court that had asked the court to reverse the temporary restraining order issued by 4th Judicial Circuit Judge Michael McHaney in response to Bailey’s complaint.
On Friday, Bailey’s attorney filed a response in opposition to Raoul’s request for the court to exercise supervisory authority under Rule 383.
Bailey also opposes Raoul’s request to stay the circuit court proceedings in Clay County while the Supreme Court appeal is pending, according to Friday’s filing by Bailey’s attorney, Steven M. Wallace, of Silver Lake Group Ltd. in Greenville.
Harrison is also represented by Thomas G. DeVore and Erik Hyam, of Silver Lake Group Ltd.
DeVore did not respond to a request for comment.
Pritzker told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” after mentioning the phases of his plan that “we're still going to have to socially distance. The truth is that coronavirus is still out there … And so we all are going to have to change the way we do things until we're able to eradicate it.”
The complaint in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court is Sonja Harrison v. Jay Robert Pritzker, 20 CH 8.