CHICAGO - Illinois’ Democratic governor was sued Monday by the state’s Republican Party, which is seeking exemption from the 10-person limit on public gatherings.
The Chicago Tribune reports the GOP contends in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s limit on in-person gatherings to battle the coronavirus curtails people’s First Amendment rights. The GOP wants the court to exempt political parties from the cap on gatherings and seeks permission to hold meetings without size restrictions during the time leading up to the November election.
“Unlike churches, political parties are barred from gathering in groups greater than 10,” the lawsuit says. “And unlike protesters against police brutality, they have not been given an exemption based on his sympathy, recognition, and participation.”
While the governor’s office didn’t immediately comment on the lawsuit, Pritzker said Monday the steps he’s taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus have helped Illinois see a decline in new infections and deaths while other states that have reopened more quickly are seeing new spikes.
Illinois Republicans held a virtual state convention Saturday to comply with the governor’s executive order.
“It’s clear the governor keeps one set of rules for the people in politically advantageous photo ops and another for the rest of Illinois,” Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said in a statement.
Republicans criticized Pritzker last week for attending a June 8 march in Matteson to protest the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans.
Pritzker defended his decision to take part in the Matteson march, saying he was “not going to run away” from taking a stand as people across the U.S. are pushing for police reform.