In a major blow to constitutional rights of Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to exercise its King’s Bench jurisdiction to review the executive fiat issued by Governor Wolf regarding COVID-19. As such, the enforcement of the Governor Wolf’s Order will begin tomorrow (Monday) at 8 AM.
A copy of the PA Supreme Court’s Order declining to exercise its King’s Bench jurisdiction is available here. As the Court declined to exercise its discretionary review, it did not rule on any of the legal arguments contained within the challenge, including that Governor Wolf’s Order is ultra vires. Accordingly, any individuals cited for violating the Order will still be able to challenge the validity of the Order on statutory and constitutional grounds in a court of law.
Justice Wecht filed a Concurring and Dissenting Statement joined by Justices
Donohue and Dougherty; wherein, the Justices raised significant concern over limitation on the Second Amendment. Specifically:
I write separately because the present Application for Emergency Relief brings to the Court’s attention a deprivation of a constitutional right. The Governor’s Order of March 20, 2020, the “Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Regarding the Closure of All Businesses That Are Not Life Sustaining” (the “Order”), makes no allowance for any continued operation of licensed firearm dealers. In light of the regulatory framework attending the sale and transfer of firearms, the inability of licensed firearm dealers to conduct any physical operations amounts to a complete prohibition upon the retail sale of firearms—an activity in which the citizens of this Commonwealth recently have been engaging on a large scale, and one guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of this Commonwealth.
Quite simply, if firearm dealers are not able to conduct any business in-person at their licensed premises, then no transfers of firearms can be completed. This amounts to an absolute and indefinite prohibition upon the acquisition of firearms by the citizens of this Commonwealth—a result in clear tension with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution … In my view, it is incumbent upon the Governor to make some manner of allowance for our citizens to continue to exercise this constitutional right.
I am truly sorry to all Pennsylvanians that our Supreme Court has chosen to sit idly by, while the Governor, through executive Fiat, eviscerates our constitutional rights and the General Assembly stands moot. Remember this in the upcoming elections.
If you or someone you know has had their rights violated by a Government agency, contact Civil Rights Defense Firm today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.
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