LOUISVILLE, Ill. — The Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General has filed documents to move Rep. Darren Bailey's lawsuit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker to federal court. This comes a day before both parties are set to return to the court in Clay County.
The Attorney General's office says they will continue to defend Pritzker's rights to protect the health and safety of Illinoisans.
“The law gives a defendant the right to remove a case to federal court when a plaintiff files a complaint in state court alleging a violation of rights that are enshrined the U.S. Constitution, and we have done so in several other cases challenging the governor’s executive orders," stated spokeswoman Annie Thompson. "Because Mr. Bailey’s amended complaint alleges violations of his federal constitutional rights, we removed his case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.”
According to the notice filed Thursday, the case would move to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. It's still unknown when the case would start in federal court. Under Illinois law, "when a petition for removal has been filed in Federal district court...the State court loses jurisdiction to proceed further until the case is remanded."
Violating "liberty interest"
This move could delay a ruling Judge Mike McHaney hopes to make Friday afternoon. McHaney says the Bill of Rights "is being shredded" by the governor's stay-at-home order.
According to the notice of removal, Bailey "seeks to redress an alleged violation of his 'liberty interest.'
The Attorney General's office explains Bailey's liberty is secured by the United States Constitution. Bailey has constantly noted Pritzker's stay-at-home order deprived him of rights as an American and forced him to quarantine. Next, the notice says the Republican seeks to redress violation of "right to free exercise of religion." The document also addresses Bailey's allegation that his rights to freedom of travel have been violated.
Bailey's attorney, Tom DeVore, says Pritzker's notice for removal "could perhaps be the most disreputable invocation of federal jurisdiction ever seen in modern times." DeVore says his client's complaint only raises questions of the governor's authority under Illinois statues.
"We trust the federal court will remand this matter back to the Circuit Court of this State where it belongs. Given the prior actions of the Governor and the Attorney General in the State Court, including a request for supervisory review and a specious motion to transfer venue, it is abundantly clear the Governor is intent upon forum shopping," DeVore stated.
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