PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is not backing down after a federal judge ruled the Commonwealth’s pandemic restrictions that required people to stay home, placed limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to close are unconstitutional. Wolf announced his administration will appeal the judge’s ruling during a press conference Tuesday morning, stating he will fight the court order to the highest courts.
“There really isn’t any sense debating a case we are appealing, but I just want to point out what is not up for debate is the early and decisive action from Secretary Levine, my administration, and I took early on in this pandemic saved lives. The federal government dithered. That’s exactly what they did. And while they did that, Pennsylvania took action and that’s exactly what the federal government said we should do.”
While the governor says there are things he would have done differently, he would “never follow the irresponsible demands of the president and/or the Republican legislature, absolutely not.”
Wolf says he believes a “vast majority of Pennsylvanians believe in what we tried to do” and he vows to continue to keep residents of the Commonwealth safe.
“No matter what I’m going to find a way to keep Pennsylvanians as safe as I can,” Wolf said. “I want to contain the virus and I think that’s the only way we can protect the lives of Pennsylvanians and keep our economy going.”
On Monday, U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, an appointee of President Donald Trump, sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders.
Courts had consistently rejected challenges to Wolf’s power to order businesses to close during the pandemic.
He also feels Trump and Republican legislature in Pennsylvania need to get serious about the virus.
“The president could only stare at his cellphone and send out tweets, messages of hate, messages of division. I think we all need the president and state legislature to get serious about our recovery and that starts with being responsible with this virus,” Wolf said. “They are celebrating a court ruling while refusing to help anyone but themselves. We in Pennsylvania deserve much, much better than that. And I’m going to keep holding their feet to the fire, to stop playing politics with this disease, stop fighting me, stop trashing me, and start living up to the responsibilities each and every one of them has in their offices,” Wolf said.
Wolf’s spokesperson said Monday the administration will seek delayed enforcement of the ruling while it appeals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.