By: Mark Glennon*

Over two thousand years ago, Marcus Tullius Cicero devoted his life to a struggle to preserve the best of the Roman Republic – constitutional checks on power, the rule of law and, to a significant degree for the age, democracy and individual rights.

It’s all there in Cicero’s story – all of today’s battles for the same goals. Some of those battles were small and some large, some fought in court and some on the battlefield, but many were ultimately decided not by law or armies but by the power of public opinion.

And so it has been for the centuries since Cicero. A Star Wars sequel gave us a modern adage for the role of public opinion: Liberty dies with thunderous applause.

For those reasons, it’s particularly alarming to see the public’s opinion about the clear illegality of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s emergency stay-at-home orders, which is indifference.

That indifference is almost universal in Illinois’ press. Editorial condemnation of the order’s illegality has been almost nonexistent. A particularly sad example was an April 23 Chicago Tribune editorial. Flattening the curve is good, it said, so hurrah for extending the order. No mention of its illegality.

Same with the general public. Polling says 93% of Illinoisans approve Pritzker’s orders, including 75% who said they strongly approved. Illegality apparently is of no consequence.

Maybe the public thinks this is about some petty “technicality.” Maybe they think it doesn’t matter because the order is sensible.

But Pritzker’s orders are illegal, flagrantly so, and it matters.

State authorization for the nearly unlimited power asserted under the orders limits them to 30 days. But Pritzker claims he can extend that to eternity simply by issuing successive 30-day orders forever, an arrogant, autocratic and untenable interpretation of the statute.

More importantly, the orders violate a range of of constitutional rights. No effort was made to confine the orders to legitimate public safety goals and tailor them to respect those rights. They reflect no rational basis for the lines between what is permissible and impermissible and, as they apply to many Illinoisans, the orders would not survive the strict scrutiny courts say the constitution demands insofar as they impair certain constitutional rights.

The arguments presented by the Illinois Attorney General in a memorandum defending the orders are cringeworthy:

•   We’ve broken the 30-day limit before so we can do it again, goes one of those arguments. If the AG were right that past illegalities render laws unenforceable, there would be little left of any law, this being Illinois.

•   Governors don’t need statutory authorization anyway, goes another argument, because they hold “supreme executive power.” Checks and balances mean nothing to the AG, apparently, nor do individual rights. President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence were roundly ridiculed by the right and the left when they made the same claim regarding the presidency last month.

•   The General Assembly hasn’t convened to cut off Pritzker’s emergency powers, says the AG, so there’s no issue. Sorry, but inaction by the legislature does not extend time limits written in statutes or suspend basic rights. That’s particularly important when the legislature is controlled by the governor’s allies, as now.

•   The order will reduce infections and save lives – that basic argument runs throughout the AG’s memorandum. But that justification contradicts the initially stated justification for the order, which was not that it would save lives but merely spread infections out over a longer time frame to ensure hospitals were not overloaded. Illinois surpassed that goal weeks ago. More fundamentally, the AG’s office just doesn’t seem to get that Pritzker’s actions, whether wise or not, must be authorized by the General Assembly and reasonably tailored to fit the need. If the merits of Pritzker’s actions are so clear he could easily have reconvened the legislature to give him extended authority.

Pity us if those arguments are accepted and become precedent.

They were made in the appeal of a temporary restraining order issued on April 27 against extension of the first stay-at-home order. The lawsuit underlying the order is being refiled and probably will be appealed. We can only hope not only that the rule of law prevails but that the general public comes to understand what is at stake.

JFK’s Inaugural Address

January will mark the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. The torch had passed, he said, to a new generation of Americans “unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed.”

The torch passed again since then. Will this generation permit what JFK’s would not?

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Read more about the impact of COVID-19:

64 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dennis C
4 months ago

For those reasons, it’s particularly alarming to see the public’s opinion about the clear illegality of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s emergency stay-at-home orders, which is indifference.

That indifference is almost universal in Illinois’ press. Editorial condemnation of the order’s illegality has been almost nonexistent. A particularly sad example was an April 23 Chicago Tribune editorial. Flattening the curve is good, it said, so hurrah for extending the order. No mention of its illegality.

Our friend and benefactor?

NO! The conservatives enemy and wasteful bastard!

Tom Paine's Ghost
4 months ago

Thank you for this article Mr. Glennon. You are spot on. I am infuriated by the collective indifference of Illinois citizens, media and politicians. They don’t deserve Democracy.

Burningmypropertytaxbill
4 months ago

Every time I go house hunting in northern suburbs of Indianapolis I expect to run into John Kass or Jeanne Ives doing the same.

UnclePugsly
4 months ago

A big problem is that many are getting more in unemployment than they made at work – this supports indifference.

s and p 500
4 months ago

This is the 40th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back” premiere.

“I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further”

“This deal’s getting worse all the time.”

MikeH
4 months ago
Reply to  s and p 500

It’s a trap

Mike
4 months ago

This becomes a precedent. So the next “crisis” more of our freedoms will be in danger.

NotoriousPattycake
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Never let a chance to trample the constitution go to waste.

Governor of Alderaan
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike

The next “crisis” will be the budget or flu season this fall

Benicia
4 months ago

But if it saves just one life…

Deb
4 months ago
Reply to  Benicia

The shutdown has never ever been about saving even one life. It has always been about SLOWING the progression of the spread, from the President’s first order to every subsequent order until the extentions. Those were used to ruin the economy, period.

Pete Nathan
4 months ago
Reply to  Benicia

Giving up all the rights this country was built on for “one life” is a trade so bad it must be guided by ignorance or greed
We fought several world wars to save those rights. In doing so thousands of lives were lost. And now you are willing to give all that up, to say they all died in vain, to “save one life”?

Get on the train and we will take you to safety

Illinois Entrepreneur
4 months ago
Reply to  Pete Nathan

Pete…Benicia’s point is clearly sarcasm, using a phrase politicians often invoke as a means to attacking any number of our constitutional rights.

Jake
4 months ago

What is amazing is the number of people who profess to be progressives who are “all in” with Pritzker’s orders. Or are they “all in” with the party — the Democrats? Party first, party always.

NotoriousPattycake
4 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Wayne and Garth are not amused.

Justin D Patton
4 months ago

I live in So IL, No one here cares what Fat Pritzker says or orders. The only thing closed is the DMV and restaurants, everyone is out and about, some with masks, most without. We are not Chicago therefore no one in Springfield cares.

Strelnikov
4 months ago

Well, said my brother.

Burningmypropertytaxbill
4 months ago

Well, Fatso has about 400# of co-morbidity going for him, which is nice.

4 months ago

But the gov can send his family out of state ( to Florida ) without repercussions from the MSM.

Holly O'Connor
4 months ago

I like your analysis. Are there comparable daily or monthly statistics for last year’s total deaths and those related to the flu? I can not find Illinois 2019 data anywhere. It would be good for comparison.

Richard Ryan
4 months ago

Thank you for this article. You’ve nailed my two biggest concerns about this so-called “crisis”: the State’s trouncing of our constitutional rights, and the public’s enthusiastic embrace of their oppression.

Tragically, we are seeing the world Neil Postman feared emerge before our very eyes. In the foreword to his ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death he wrote: “… no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As [Huxley] saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think”.

Sandy Beech
4 months ago

I had to leave my home state of NJ 30-odd years ago to relocate to the Chicago area… From the day I got here my impression of the people of Illinois was – they are SHEEPLE….. and now with the windbag governor unconstitutionally throwing his ample weight around – the Illinois SHEEPLE simply stay in their homes, and put on their masks (not just when going to the supermarket, but when they are alone, walking their dog or driving in their cars)…. I’ve always missed the East Coast attitude, but never more than I do now… the Illinois press has… Read more »

J thomsen
4 months ago

Scary when the local news and opposition are flummoxed by the Gov’s lame excuse for not speaking to the exemption for the Governors wife. What are we? Uganda?

Well, er, the electorate IS beginning to resemble that country.
Maybe there is a good reason why Africa remains a fiendish, barbaric backwater

accept reality
4 months ago

Does anyone know of online petitions to open the State and the City of Chicago’s Parks?

lincoln2douglas
4 months ago

I tend to believe the numbers cited in this article are more “Fake Polling”. My family, along with the majority of those posting on this site most certainly do not agree nor or capitulating to these illegal orders.

BilyBob
4 months ago

Poll down staters and get back to us.

Kelsey
4 months ago

Sheeple

Kevin
4 months ago

I currently reside in the people’s republic of illinois. I must be in the 7%. I have not changed my behavior at all during this fake pandemic. Went everywhere I wanted to go and have done all I care to do. Freedom starts between your ears.

Mick the Tick
4 months ago

Pritzker, Lightfoot, and their supporting cast are making a bad situation worse and leading the state to the edge of the cliff. Those of you that think change will happen before that long final step are dreaming. Once proud Illinois is no longer the land of Lincoln. It has evolved to the land of lemmings.

accept reality
4 months ago
Reply to  Mick the Tick

Pritzker’s entire goal is to get a Federal bailout and his new graduated income tax. If it were otherwise, he would be less hostile to the Administration and more willing to open safe activities in the State. Buckwheat is just his willing accomplice.

Burningmypropertytaxbill
4 months ago
Reply to  accept reality

Bingo! You won the internet today. Jelly Belly (Madigan’s Stooge) holding the state hostage for a federal bailout.

Tom Maher
4 months ago

Mark,

To further your point, this past Friday a rally was held at the Thompson Center to re-open Illinois, which my wife and I attended. There were 450 individuals in the plaza, according to the state police, and if you add another 50 to 100 people circling in vehicles, my estimate, the crowd totaled 550 out of a metropolitan population base of 9.5 million people.

It felt good to exercise our First Amendment rights, freedom of speech and to assemble.

Thank you for your (collective) research and well stated position(s).

Tom Maher
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Mark, if you would like to view my photos along with a video taken during the rally, send me an email address, so you can judge for yourself. I was at the rally from about 11:45 am to 1:15 pm. There wasn’t any anti-racial, anti-Semite signs or chants of any sort I witnessed. My guess, bias to truth, was that the crowd was predominantly libertarian. It is impossible to control who shows up at any larger gathering. There were also protesters protesting the rally in the plaza and across the street. The Chicago Police and State Police were on site.… Read more »

Janet
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

In the photos I’ve seen (which could be fake) I saw one swastika and one that mentioned something about the Holocaust, but I didn’t see them as being anything other than a reference to Pritzker being a nazi (because of his control tactics). Many people are referring to him as Hitler in comments that I see on fb, as well as in “photoshopped” pictures. I haven’t seen any anti-semitism at all during these past 2 months. Pritzker’s accusation was just his attempt at making the protestors look bad. I’m Jewish and I was NOT offended by the signs. But I… Read more »

debtsor
4 months ago

Don’t forget that in 43 BC, Mark Antony, antiquity’s very own Jabba the Hut, put a bounty on Cicero, and his minions chased Cicero down in hiding and murdered him in cold blood. His soldiers chopped off Cicero’s head and hands and brought them back to Mark Antony. He displayed these gory artifacts in front of the Thompson Center, sorry, Roman Forum, for everyone to see.

Jeff Garter
4 months ago

Stop whining you Republican pussies.

Buck
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Garter

And why is Illinois the debt ridden shithole it is… Because of people like you…

Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Garter

And you think everyone here is Republican why ?

accept reality
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Garter

The Constitution was written without regard to political party….. and you should be thankful.

Burningmypropertytaxbill
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Garter

I’ll say this about the fake wrestling politicians, they are still fooling many – Durkin in right in there with the worst of the Ds. What’s in those brown bags, Jim?

By the way, how many pensions is Saint Edgar still collecting? Remember him yucking it up with Uncle Bobby Collins every week on the radio, giving Chicago and Crook County everything they wanted.

debtsor
4 months ago

I’ve yet to see anyone here defend Edgar.

Richard Conklin
4 months ago

30 years after moving to Chicago, I wrote my first (and probably last) Letter to the Editor of the Tribune this morning: “I’m a current subscriber, and have been for 30 years. But I’m shocked and disappointed that the Tribune refuses to take an active interest in the question of whether Gov. Pritzker’s continuation of 30-day emergency orders are unconstitutional under Illinois law. I’ve always depended upon and defended effective journalism and the free press as the public’s only check against corruption and abuse, public and private. The Tribune has utterly failed the public in shining a spotlight on this… Read more »

debtsor
4 months ago

Better late than never! The rest of us cancelled long ago. I can’t wait for the day I can give my pet dog to Eric Zorn to groom. And I’ll be a smug jerk about it too and give him no tip.

Burningmypropertytaxbill
4 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

The Tribune is just as fraudulent as the local politicians and Wall Street crooks. I cancelled my subscription 3 years ago and it still shows up on my driveway every morning. I’m sure it’s some scam to manufacture higher circulation numbers to pitch to the advertisers.

Rick
4 months ago

I didn’t read the tribune for 3 years after it became difficult to buy one printed on paper. Then one day I was at McDonald’s and there was a copy laying there. I read it, I couldn’t believe how far that paper drifted over to the collectivist/socialist viewpoint. Kass is the only thing worth reading in it anymore. They have a huge money making opportunity to be the one and only journalistic voice for individualism and liberty in Chicago. But instead they chose to be another Sun Times, I guess they are happy splitting a half-sized single subscriber base with… Read more »

Jacob
4 months ago

Pssst….the Tribune is dying. The Left has ruined another institution.
https://www.chicagocontrarian.com/blog/the-chicago-tribune-hits-the-rocks

Patriot
4 months ago

I moved away from Detroit in 1994. There are much better places to live in this country friend. Sadly, Chicago will end up in the same situation as my former city. But whether you stay or move, you have to keep fighting for our Constitutional rights. We dont have the luxury of sitting back and watching.

Joan
4 months ago

Thank God somebody is finally speaking up about this. It’s the same thing in a few other states and it’s tyranny, including Maine and Michigan. I wouldn’t be surprised if our courts just let Pritzker do whatever he wants. You can’t count on them for anything. I hope it goes all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Deb
4 months ago
Reply to  Joan

I agree to your hope that the disregard for our constitutional goes all the way to the supreme court but question what will be done to remedy the problem since it is seen in every level of goverment from the office of the president down on both sides of the aisle.

Bob
4 months ago

Couple take aways…its Kwame and Pritzker is surrounded by the worst possible advisors. There was a rather large rally in both capitols of the state yesterday and I see little coverage anywhere.

a person
4 months ago
Reply to  Bob

The reason there was little coverage is because of the Democrat controlled media.

Buck
4 months ago
Reply to  a person

Why you all still live there is beyond me… I escaped in ’87 and havent looked back…

a person
4 months ago
Reply to  Buck

Reason still live here are many.
When I am able Illinois will be in the rear view mirror

Teddy
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Mark, I got turned on to you and Ted and your Wirepoints news outlet by a good friend recently and I’ve forwarded this to many more peeps every day. I can’t wait to get to my desk to read your investigative reporting. The Podcast that Ted was on last week was excellent listening, such wonderful reporting you all do…THANK YOU !! PS: The only reason my wife and I are not residents of WI. yet, is her parents are in their late 80’s and live close by and my wife has 6.5 mile commute to a wonderful job, God help… Read more »

Burningmypropertytaxbill
4 months ago
Reply to  Teddy

Before you go, asset strip with a refi / HELOC like Mitt, jingle mail to bank.