The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Thursday granted Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s request to restore COVID-19 restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Four counties in Western Pennsylvania sued Wolf arguing that his executive orders issued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic violated their constitutional rights. More specifically, plaintiffs alleged that Wolf and the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health violated their due process rights, the Takings Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment of the Constitution. Judge William Stickman of the Western District sided with the plaintiffs in this case with regards to their substantive due process, Equal Protection and First Amendment claims because they “do not merely assert past deprivations of rights, but they allege current and ongoing deprivations of rights.”
However, Judge Brooks of the Third Circuit invalidated Stickman’s order by granting a stay pending appeal. As a result of this order, Wolf’s challenged executive orders will be reinstated throughout Pennsylvania, limiting indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 250 people.