HARRISBURG – State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) applauded a federal judge today for upholding a ruling that COVID-19 mitigation measures implemented by Governor Wolf are unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV announced Tuesday he was denying the Wolf administration’s request for a stay on his recent ruling. Mastriano noted that he has full confidence in Pennsylvanians being able to implement their own health and safety practices, without government overreach interfering in their lives.
“It is a great victory – the Governor has clearly violated the constitution with his group size mandates and stay at home orders,” said Mastriano. “There are three co-equal branches of government, but the Governor has ignored one of those branches over the past six months. This announcement is a sign to Pennsylvanians that the third branch is watching and it will not tolerate this nonsense.”
Stickman recently ruled that Wolf’s group gathering limitations and flawed business waiver program – which resulted in statewide businesses closing their doors – violated components of the first and fourteenth amendments, such as the freedom of assembly, due process and equal protection clauses.
Wolf is currently not allowing indoor gatherings of more than 25 people, and has limited outdoor groups to 250 people. Previously, when counties were placed in a color-coded lockdown system, group gatherings were further restricted.
“The double standards by the Governor have been alarming – it was OK for him to participate in a protest when he was not allowing groups to congregate, yet he ordered that families were not allowed to convene for holidays, picnics or special events,” said Mastriano.
Over the past few months, Mastriano noted that transparency has been lacking from the Wolf administration, noting that the Governor and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine have used the state’s Disease Prevention & Control Act of 1955 to withhold live-saving pandemic information from the public.
Similarly, Mastriano referenced the Governor’s ineffective business waiver shutdown, where winners and losers were chosen, without being provided specific rationale. Wolf is fighting a subpoena seeking information about what protocols – if any – were used during the business waiver program.
“The Governor’s waiver process was ineffective, lacked accountability and oversight, and was riddled with unconstitutional powers,” said Mastriano. “We still have not seen a definition for a life-sustaining business. Sadly, many of these businesses will never reopen.”
The unclear edicts have also changed on a regular basis, added Mastriano.