SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) — A court date has been set for Republican State Representative Darren Bailey vs. Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, as a Clay County Judge issued a warning Friday to Gov. Pritzker if he fails to make an appearance.
Clay County Judge Michael McHaney issued an order for Gov. Pritzker to appear next Friday at 1 p.m. in Clay County Court.
Judge McHaney included a message for the governor at the bottom of the order that stated "failure to appear may result in a warrant for arrest."
The Governor's office responded Friday afternoon with the following statement.
On the same day that the governor asked the General Assembly to do more to keep Illinoisans safe, the House GOP is instead rejecting science and perpetuating a sideshow to this global pandemic. This motion for contempt is legally baseless, frivolous and a distraction from the serious crisis facing our state. Not a single member of the GOP caucus in the General Assembly has yet to publicly express their rejection of or outrage at this legal maneuvering that creates unnecessary confusion around public health guidance.
The issuance of the Order to Show Cause, without even allowing the Governor an opportunity to respond to the flawed motion for contempt, filed only days ago, is procedurally improper, violating elementary principles of fairness. The State is grappling with its most serious challenge to the lives and health of its residents - a global pandemic - with an increasing number of counties at a warning level today due to outbreaks of cases, and all the while the GOP is playing politics. The Governor will continue to focus on protecting public health and not on the political sideshow in Clay County.
Wednesday morning, Rep. Darren Bailey filed a new court document in his lawsuit case against Pritzker.
The Xenia Republican argues the governor has illegally issued executive orders since Clay County Judge Michael McHaney ruled against Pritzker on July 2.
Bailey says Pritzker should rescind his most recent executive orders, or he'll temporarily land in Clay County Jail.
The lawmaker is also asking the court to hold Pritzker liable for his attorney fees incurred during the period of "willful disregard" following the July 2 decision.
Pritzker responded on Wednesday to the latest filing during his daily press briefing.
"All I can say is the rulings out of Clay County have been ridiculous. There's no other court that has ruled as they have on the matter that they ruled on," Pritzker said. "And, in fact, there's a judge on Friday who specifically pointed to Clay County and said that the decision by that judge was bereft of any legal analysis. And I think that's accurate."
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