Some Pennsylvania business owners say it’s time to get back to work and want the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn a state lockdown initiated by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
These owners say Wolf had no authority to issue such a widespread declaration, Fox News reported Tuesday.
Wolf shut down much of the state’s economy early in the coronavirus crisis with an order that all “non-life-sustaining” businesses be closed until further notice. That edict included state-run liquor stores, but these facilities began offering curbside delivery last week. (RELATED: Protest Shutdowns: Anti-Lockdown Protesters Carry Guns In Pennsylvania, Kansas City Counter-Protesters Block Traffic)
Harrisburg lawyer Marc Scaringi, who is representing the business owners, told Fox News that Wolf’s shutdown order was arbitrary and did not precisely define what part of the economy was “non-life-sustaining.” Before ordering that businesses close, Wolf called for voluntary closures.
“Part of our legal challenge is the arbitrariness and capriciousness of the list, of which industry is on which classification,” Scaringi told Fox News. “The whole thing is fundamentally based on terms that have no clear knowing, understandable definition.”
The lawyer argued that the criteria for what constitutes life-sustaining is open for debate. “The governor kind of just made all of this up anyway, and he could just change his mind.” (RELATED: Judge Andrew Napolitano Tells Gov. Whitmer: ‘Don’t Treat Us Like Are Children’)
Realtor Kathy Gregory, one of the business owners challenging the state order, said the lockdown has hurt her business as she can no longer bring prospective home buyers to locations that are for sale.
“The issue here isn’t [just] your income for March or April, but by shutting us down completely, when he reopens, you’re starting from scratch,” Gregory told Fox News. “You’re not going to have any income in May, June and possibly July. You’re starting over, like a brand new agent with no inventory.”
Although the governors of all states with strict lockdowns have argued that their decisions limited the growth of the COVID-19 virus, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson observed last week that if Americans wait for the “last vestiges” of the pandemic to disappear, the national economy will be gone too.
Wolf has said that some businesses that cater to outdoor activities like golf, fishing and camping, will be able to reopen by May 1. Rural portions of the state that have been less affected by the coronavirus outbreak are also hopeful that they could reopen the local economy sooner than urban locations.