A federal judge on Thursday denied the Illinois Republican Party’s request to temporarily block Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ban on gatherings of more than 50 people from applying to political gatherings.

The lawsuit, filed last month by the state GOP and three local Republican organizations, alleges the rules in Pritzker’s order violate the First and 14th amendments. It asks the court to exempt political parties from the cap on gatherings and seeks permission to hold in-person events without size restrictions in the run-up to the November election.

U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis wrote in a 21-page ruling Thursday that the GOP groups “have not shown how this exemption is a plain invasion of their constitutional rights” and denied their request for a temporary restraining order.

It marked the latest court ruling to provide legal backing for the steps the governor has taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Republicans have criticized Pritzker for attending a march with hundreds of other people June 8 in south suburban Matteson amid the response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. They also note that his executive order includes an exemption on the gathering limit for religious groups.

The Republican groups have indicated they plan to appeal.


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