Pritzker asks Illinois Supreme Court to hear mask appeal case

Pritzker asks Illinois Supreme Court to hear mask appeal case

February 23, 2022 0 By Greg Bishop

Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to take up an expedited appeal of a lower court’s ruling over mask and vaccine mandates in schools.

It was unclear Tuesday if the state’s highest court would take up the case.

Last fall, separate lawsuits were filed on behalf of more than 700 parents and dozens of school staff against more than 160 school districts, state education officials and the Pritzker administration. The lawsuits challenged mask and exclusion mandates on children and vaccine or testing requirements for school staff.

Earlier this month, a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge deemed Pritzker’s mandates null and void and issued a temporary restraining order against enforcing the mandates. Pritzker appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on a bipartisan vote blocked emergency rules Pritzker’s Illinois Department of Public Health filed the day before. The appeals court panel late Thursday found that because of JCAR’s actions, the governor’s appeal was moot.

Since then, hundreds of school districts have gone either mask optional or mask recommended. At least two school districts, including Chicago Public Schools, face contempt charges for requiring plaintiffs’ children to wear masks despite the circuit court’s order.

On Tuesday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed four motions to the Illinois Supreme Court, including an emergency motion for stay pending appeal and a request for expedited consideration.

“The [temporary restraining order] entered in this case impairs state defendants’ ability to protect the public health,” Raoul’s filing says. “Some schools have stopped requiring masks and other mitigation measures, driven in part by concerns about legal liability.”

Plaintiffs in the case argue their due process rights to challenge quarantine orders like requiring masks, being excluded from school, or vaccinating or testing, are violated by the mandates.

Illinois Supreme Court rules for an expedited review states the “court may then enter an order setting forth an expedited schedule for the disposition of the appeal.”

This article was originally posted on Pritzker asks Illinois Supreme Court to hear mask appeal case