Supreme Court Denies Petition Challenging Wolf’s Executive Order

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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court declined a petition challenging Governor Tom Wolf’s March 19 executive order shuttering all non-life-sustaining businesses.

(File photo. Blueberry Hill Golf Course was part of a group challenging the constitutionality of measures taken by Governor Tom Wolf to slow the spread of COVID-19.)

A pair of Warren County businesses, Blueberry Hill Golf Course and Caledonia Land Company, joined with other businesses and a political campaign in the suit alleging their constitutional rights were violated by the order.

The case had been brought to the nation’s highest court after the suit had been rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Monday, the Supreme Court denied the petition.

The Supreme Court refused to issue a stay of the lower court’s order in May. With Monday’s denial the high court continued its trend of refusing to second-guess state and local officials’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The case stemmed from Wolf’s order issued March 19 that instructed all businesses that were not life sustaining to close their physical locations to help stop the virus’s spread. The full closure has since been lifted and businesses are now able to operate at their physical location, with reduced capacity.

The petitioners had recently filed a supplemental brief arguing that the ruling issued Sept. 14 by U.S. District Court Judge William S. Stickman IV that said the gathering limitations issued by the state were unconstitutional, applied to this case as well.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of that ruling while the state files its appeal. The appeal is pending, but this case could also find its way to the Supreme Court.