FILE - Darren Bailey, face mask, Virus Outbreak Illinois Legislature

Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, wears a face mask as he confers with a staff member at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield, Ill., during the spring legislative session Thursday, May 21, 2020. Bailey was removed from the floor Wednesday for not complying with House rules that required face coverings.

(The Center Square) – A judge on Monday denied Gov. J.B. Pritzker's motion to vacate the orders of a Clay County judge who had ruled against the governor.

The governor could still challenge the ruling in the case filed by state Rep. Darren Bailey, which claimed Pritzker had exceeded his executive authority during the pandemic. 

The ruling by Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow said the governor could challenge the Clay County ruling for other reasons, but not over jurisdiction.

Grischow ruled that a Clay County judge had jurisdiction to issue a July 2 order that struck down Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders on COVID-19 beyond the initial 30-day period.

Oral arguments on the merits of the case are set for Dec. 7.

Grischow entered an order Monday that denied the governor’s motion to vacate the Clay County Judge’s order. The governor had claimed Clay County Judge Michael McHaney didn’t have jurisdiction.

“Considering the foregoing cases, along with the fact that it is well settled that public documents which are included in the records of other courts may be the subject of judicial notice, along with the fact the parties handed the Clay County Court a copy of the Order of Remand which was filed instanter on July 2, 2020, this court finds that the Clay County Circuit Court did in fact have jurisdiction,” Grischow wrote.

The Order of Remand was from the federal court, which sent the case back to the circuit court.

McHaney’s order over the summary struck down Pritzker’s executive orders beyond the initial 30-day period from the first COVID-19 related order. The ruling said it shall apply to all commonly situated citizens of Illinois, not just state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who filed the case in Clay County.

Grischow said if the governor wants to challenge McHaney’s order on the merits, his legal team has until Oct. 30 to file such a motion. Final filings would be by Nov. 20, 2020. Oral arguments on that are set for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 7.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office wasn’t immediately available for comment after 5:30 p.m. Monday. 

Bailey's attorney, Thomas DeVore, said he looked forward to arguing the substance of the case.

“Should the governor want to move to have Judge Grishow reconsider McHaney’s ruling, I look forward to arguing in front of her why we believe McHaney made the right decisions on the merits,” DeVore said.

Pritzker issued a COVID-19 executive order Friday to extend the moratorium on evictions. It also extended more than thirty other executive orders.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.