“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” – Thomas Jefferson
It’s been awhile since we’ve opened a column with a quote and it’s certainly the perfect time to revive that tradition because Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker’s latest “emergency order” essentially re-shutting down Kane County restaurants and bars is about as unjust as it gets!
And just like our third President stipulated, we the people, are under no obligation to adhere to specious laws, particularly those of the unconstitutional variety. That means I’m wholeheartedly encouraging our already beleaguered Kane County bar and restaurant owners to ignore Governor Pointless’ Friday midnight shutdown edict and to continue with indoor business applying all the safety protocols that have proven to be effective for months.
As we discussed on Wednesday, bars and restaurants are NOT responsible for the current COVID-19 surge, so shutting them down won’t change a thing! It’s as if the Governor is intent punishing those folks for all the errant 20-somethings who are currently contracting the plague from parties in private homes.
The problem there is, on the rare occasion of the Governor actually having idea, neither heaven nor hell nor any form of evidence can remove it out of his barely functioning brain. But even if this new injunction contained the mildest of merit, it’s conspicuously unconstitutional for all the following reasons:
1. The Governor’s pandemic emergency powers expired 30 days after he initially applied them back in April, and there is no Illinois law that allows him to repeatedly extend them. To wit, both Michigan’s and Wisconsin’s Governors’ attempted extensions were shot down by their respective Supreme Courts.
2. Even if he could prolong his pandemic powers, there isn’t a single sentence in the Illinois Constitution that provides Pritzker with the capacity to close a business, or even an indoor dining area, without a court order.
3. Clay County Judge Michael McHaney already struck down Pritzker’s first illegal order extension and Sangamon Judge Raylene Grischow just killed the Governor’s attempt to vacate that ruling.
Of course, when the petulant Governor Pointless realized he was being openly defied, the blatant bully threatened to send in the State Police to issue citations and revoke the liquor licenses of recalcitrant businesses. But that ain’t gonna fly because ISP Director Brendan Kelly made it abundantly clear that he had no intention of embarking upon either course of action without a specific court order giving him the power to do so.
It’s somewhat reassuring to know that at least one Springfield official has the good sense that God gave a billy goat.
Similarly, I spoke with Chairman Chris Lauzen yesterday, and in his role as Kane County liquor commissioner, he specifically told me that liquor licenses will NOT be used as a weapon against unincorporated bars and restaurants.
And not one of the Kane County mayors who serve as city liquor commissioners has issued a similar threat. Not only do they collectively believe Governor Pointless is developing a fascinating form of insanity, but they know they wouldn’t be mayor for much longer if they tried to apply those illegal tactics.
To co-opt a 60s slogan, this begs the question, “What if you gave an emergency order and no one came to enforce it?” Put more simply, particularly when you consider the disastrous economic consequence, there is absolutely no downside to keeping your indoor drinking/dining facilities open.
I’ll say it again, the reasonable intent of the original emergency order was to provide Illinois healthcare providers with an opportunity to get on top of this pandemic, and we’ve done just that! Even considering the current virus “surge,” just 7.5 percent of the 35,059 total Illinois hospital beds are occupied by plague sufferers.
Again, it simply seems like Governor Pointless is pouting about losing the consent of the governed and he’s gonna make a bunch of blameless people suffer just to assuage his massive but dented ego.
I don’t think it’ll happen, but if any Kane County business owner does find themselves on the wrong end of an fine or attempted license revocation, I would highly recommend reaching out to Tom Devore, the Illinois attorney who won that Clay County injunction. Tom has been conducting statewide seminars on how to fight this bovine manure and he’d be more than happy to set up a Zoom meeting with your interested group.
Don’t forget to let me know about it, too, and I will be more than happy to make that mayor or any other errant elected official quite famous!
I’ll also be issuing weekly Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests to obtain any complaints against a St. Charles, Geneva, or Batavia business that correctly disregards the Governor’s illegal “mitigations.” The same goes for any grievance filed with the Kane County Health Department. And much like what happened in St. Louis, I will be more than happy to publish the names and addresses of anyone who files a frivolous complaint.
No restaurant or bar owner should have to endure their business being destroyed as the result of a renewed shutdown effort that has no basis in reality and doesn’t begin to solve the real problem. No server should have to resort to limited unemployment because Governor Pointless can’t get his pandemic act together.
So, here’s to a reasonable rebellion, the very basis upon which this country was founded!