Rich Miller

Rich Miller

Pritzker extricates himself from mask mess

By Rich Miller

For what seemed like an eternity, but probably just for the past year or so, infamous COVID attorney Thomas DeVore has been citing the first paragraph of Section 2 of the Illinois Department of Public Health Act to claim that only IDPH has the power to quarantine or isolate Illinoisans.

Indeed, the statute clearly states at the top of Section 2, that IDPH has “supreme authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.” Those powers come with some strong individual consent and due process checks and balances, including the right to judicial review.

RichMiller

Rich Miller

Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow agreed with DeVore’s argument in early February when she issued her Temporary Restraining Order on the grounds that the state’s school mandates for masks, testing and vaccination were a “type of quarantine” and that local school districts were not complying with “any due process under the IDPH Act.”

The appellate court did not subsequently address the merits of the case because, it ruled, the issue was moot after the legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to suspend an emergency IDPH rule to enforce the governor’s executive order, which was issued under the broad and sweeping authority given to the governor during declared disasters by the Illinois Emergency Management Act. The DeVore lawsuit claimed, and Judge Grischow concurred, that IDPH’s authority superseded the IEMA law.

However, the state’s recent appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court pointed out a huge flaw in the arguments made by Judge Grischow and newly-minted attorney general candidate DeVore.

At the very end of that very same IDPH Act Section 2 cited above is this clear language: “Nothing in this Section shall supersede the current National Incident Management System and the Illinois Emergency Operation Plan or response plans and procedures established pursuant to IEMA statutes.”

The state’s appeal also brought up the trick box constructed by the appellate court’s ruling that the issue was moot without also lifting Grischow’s TRO, which would’ve been logical because there is no longer an active emergency IDPH rule on the books. The state’s appeal asked that, at the very least, the Supreme Court toss the TRO.

This legal battle has been more about the future than the present. The state’s mask mandate was already being phased out on March 1. Before the Grischow ruling, the school mask mandate was expected to be lifted after spring break, when the weather warmed up. But there’s always the next variant and, even if this BA.2 subvariant turns out to be a dud, it’s an absolute certainty that another deadly pandemic will occur sometime or another.

The Illinois Supreme Court needed to finally step up after sidelining itself throughout the pandemic. Legislators needed to know whether they had to adjust the statutes going forward or if the ones on the books were adequate and merely misinterpreted by a circuit court judge.

I mean, if you want to see what life would be like if DeVore and his clients prevailed, just look at the lawsuit he filed on behalf of Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), who was ejected from the House floor because he refused to comply with the chamber’s rules requiring mask-wearing during session.

“Wilhour has a right to insist he not be compelled to undergo quarantine, which includes masking, which is purported to limit the spread of an infectious disease, unless Wilhour is first afforded his procedural and substantive due process rights as provided under Illinois law,” the lawsuit declared.

If DeVore could win that argument, the Illinois House of Representatives would have to endure a court hearing for each and every objector before enforcing its simple facemask rule.

Now, imagine that procedure throughout the land, in every school and place of business when the next deadly pandemic strikes.

Late on Friday, Feb. 25, the Illinois Supreme Court finally weighed in. The justices vacated Judge Grischow’s TRO. That means the weird logic of masks being a “type of quarantine” is no longer in effect, which further undercuts DeVore’s case against the House.

But rather than try to pick another fight, Gov. JB Pritzker cited CDC guidance about masks being needed only in areas of “high transmission,” and then lifted his statewide school mask mandate effective March 1. The small handful of counties (all Downstate) which are still high transmission areas will be merely asked to follow the CDC guidance.

So, the mask opponents score a victory and Pritzker extricates himself from this mess for now.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Local News

With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

American English, an award-winning Beatles cover band, entertained the large crowd for over two hours, despite on-and-off rain, as the final act of Sunday's event. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland

By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…

election 2022

Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday

From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…

Bob Krusza shows off his 1964 Chevy Impala SS at Thursday night's Auto Show. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Willow Fest 2022

Willow Springs Willow Fest will take place through Sunday at Willow Springs Village Center, 1 Village Circle, Willow Springs (corner of Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road). Hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Special needs hours 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Free parking. Free shuttle service…

Joan Hadac

If you’re young, grab the baton

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] If you’re a young adult in Clearing or Garfield Ridge—or even a middle-aged man or woman—it’s easy to look at the senior citizens leading our local civic leagues or neighborhood watches and assume it’s always been that way. But you’d be mistaken.…

Thomas McGill

Campaign 2022: Garfield Ridge man to run for state senate

McGill to focus on law enforcement issues By Bob Bong As it turns out, Democratic state Senate candidate Mike Porfirio looks like he will face a Republican challenger in November’s general election. Porfirio, a Lyons Township trustee, had filed to run for the 11th Illinois Senate seat on the same day incumbent Sen. Steve Landek withdrew…

Acting Police Chief Mel Ortiz joins some kids in the bounce house at Summit's National Night Out last week. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Summit police mingle with public at National Night Out

By Carol McGowan Summit police and firefighters hosted their annual National Night Out last week and entertained residents with games, food and music. Thousands of communities in the United States and around the world celebrate on the first Tuesday of August as people are asked to turn on outside lights and join first responders to…

Matt Duzak, Bridgeview’s newest fire lieutenant, was sworn in by Mayor Steve Landek on Aug. 3. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

‘A fine man’ is newest fire lieutenant in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch Matt Duzak wanted to be a firefighter since he was a young boy. In his adult life, he drove trucks around the Chicago area for a living, working with his father-in-law. But that old desire to fight fires never disappeared. After a stint with the Roberts Park Fire Protection District in Justice…

State Rep. Fran Hurley

Hurley says August 15 is deadline to apply for Illinois State Police

State Rep. Fran Hurley is encouraging interested Illinois State Police candidates to apply by Monday, Aug. 15, to be considered for the January 2023 cadet class. “For those who want to pursue a career of service, this is a wonderful opportunity to work for a great organization that supports its members,” Hurley said. “It is…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

American English, an award-winning Beatles cover band, entertained the large crowd for over two hours, despite on-and-off rain, as the final act of Sunday's event. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland

By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…

election 2022

Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday

From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…

Bob Krusza shows off his 1964 Chevy Impala SS at Thursday night's Auto Show. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Willow Fest 2022

Willow Springs Willow Fest will take place through Sunday at Willow Springs Village Center, 1 Village Circle, Willow Springs (corner of Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road). Hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Special needs hours 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Free parking. Free shuttle service…

Joan Hadac

If you’re young, grab the baton

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] If you’re a young adult in Clearing or Garfield Ridge—or even a middle-aged man or woman—it’s easy to look at the senior citizens leading our local civic leagues or neighborhood watches and assume it’s always been that way. But you’d be mistaken.…

Thomas McGill

Campaign 2022: Garfield Ridge man to run for state senate

McGill to focus on law enforcement issues By Bob Bong As it turns out, Democratic state Senate candidate Mike Porfirio looks like he will face a Republican challenger in November’s general election. Porfirio, a Lyons Township trustee, had filed to run for the 11th Illinois Senate seat on the same day incumbent Sen. Steve Landek withdrew…

Acting Police Chief Mel Ortiz joins some kids in the bounce house at Summit's National Night Out last week. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Summit police mingle with public at National Night Out

By Carol McGowan Summit police and firefighters hosted their annual National Night Out last week and entertained residents with games, food and music. Thousands of communities in the United States and around the world celebrate on the first Tuesday of August as people are asked to turn on outside lights and join first responders to…

Matt Duzak, Bridgeview’s newest fire lieutenant, was sworn in by Mayor Steve Landek on Aug. 3. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

‘A fine man’ is newest fire lieutenant in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch Matt Duzak wanted to be a firefighter since he was a young boy. In his adult life, he drove trucks around the Chicago area for a living, working with his father-in-law. But that old desire to fight fires never disappeared. After a stint with the Roberts Park Fire Protection District in Justice…

State Rep. Fran Hurley

Hurley says August 15 is deadline to apply for Illinois State Police

State Rep. Fran Hurley is encouraging interested Illinois State Police candidates to apply by Monday, Aug. 15, to be considered for the January 2023 cadet class. “For those who want to pursue a career of service, this is a wonderful opportunity to work for a great organization that supports its members,” Hurley said. “It is…

House Ad Subscription1
CRR NH Fireside Realty House Ad