An Effingham County, Illinois circuit judge has put on a law school class in issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s gun and magazine ban law late Friday afternoon. Tom DeVore filed the suit on behalf of 860+ plaintiffs and the “as applied” lawsuit exempts the named plaintiffs (and only the plaintiffs for now) from the law’s provisions.
A hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction banning enforcement for all Illinois gun owners is scheduled for February 1.
At the hearing Wednesday morning, Attorney General Kwame Raoul couldn’t muster enough attorneys to represent the four named defendants. While the Governor and AG had representation, the House Speaker and the Senate President had none – and that didn’t help the state’s case.
Now, after an emergency hearing Wednesday went so very poorly for the state, Effingham County Circuit Court Judge Joshua Morrison ruled against Raoul’s not-so-dream legal team.
The judge ruled that the ban violates not only parts of the Illinois constitution, but is also contrary to the US Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. Here’s the opinion granting the TRO.
The order blocking enforcement for the plaintiffs in the suit marks the second time in less than a month that the Land of Lincoln’s top lawyer has argued and failed to defend high-profile radical legislation against court orders blocking their implementation.
Back in December, this not-so-sharp AG appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court when a county judge blocked the disastrous “no cash bail” law from taking effect for two-thirds of Illinois. Not only did the local Supremes reject Raoul’s motion, but they expanded the order to all 102 counties. That’s some mighty fine litigating there, Mr. Attorney General.
Break out the tissues, right?
Unlike some media outlets that were practically hyperventilating news of the order blocking the gun ban, The Cook County Record offers at least a somewhat balanced report, including the pledge of an appeal directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.
A judge in downstate Effingham County has issued an order barring the state from attempting to enforce its new law banning so-called assault weapons against more than 800 people and gun shops, who signed on to one of the first lawsuits filed to challenge the constitutionality of the law championed by Gov. JB Pritzker.
Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison issued the temporary restraining order in the early evening hours on Friday, Jan. 20 in the lawsuit led by attorney Tom DeVore, a former Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General.
Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul immediately vowed to seek to overturn Morrison’s ruling on appeal.
Of course the AG and the governor will appeal. They don’t have any other choice. However, the issuance of a well-written, well-reasoned TRO bodes well for the case’s likelihood of success as four conditions must be met for a court to issue one of these orders. These include: did the plaintiff possess a clear right in need of protection, will the plaintiff(s) suffer irreparable injury if the order is not granted, the plaintiff has no remedy at law, and lastly, the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its claim.
Judge Morrison covered each of those points, and evaluated each of plaintiffs’ attorney Tom Devore’s claims. The judge indicated that all four of DeVore’s claims had a likelihood of success on their merits.
Governor Pritzker’s grand design to show himself as a wise and capable statesman destined for higher office has been something of a train wreck so far. Instead of looking like a worthy presidential candidate who can get things done, he looks more like a feckless blow-hard surrounded by incompetents.
“Although disappointing, it is the initial result we’ve seen in many cases brought by plaintiffs whose goal is to advance ideology over public safety,” Pritzker said. “We are well aware that this is only the first step in defending this important legislation.”
Pritzker said he remains confident the courts will uphold the constitutionality of the law.
Pritzker is likely whistling past the judicial graveyard. There are already at least three lawsuits, one in federal court, besides DeVore’s that Raoul will have to scrounge up staff to defend against.
If that’s not bad enough news for the state, the new Illinois Gun Rights Alliance is set to file our lawsuit sometime next week. I serve as the Executive Director of Guns Save Life, one of the founding members of the alliance. With a legal dream team of seasoned expert counselors including Chuck Michele from the Second Amendment Law Center, we expect the federal courts to issue us a similar restraining order that will cover everyone in the entire state, not just the named plaintiffs.
That is if one of the other lawsuits don’t get a similar restraining order first.