State Rep. candidate Danny DeVito loses Supreme Court challenge to reopen Pa | Pittsburgh City Paper

State Rep. candidate Danny DeVito loses Supreme Court challenge to reopen Pa

click to enlarge State Rep. candidate Danny DeVito loses Supreme Court challenge to reopen Pa
Screenshot taken from Facebook
Danny DeVito
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift Pennsylvania’s coronavirus business closure order. A lawsuit, led by the campaign of local state Rep. candidate Danny DeVito (R-Carnegie) and other businesses, argued that their constitutional rights were being violated by Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders to close all “non-life-sustaining” businesses as a way to halt the spread of COVID-19.

But the Supreme Court rejected that request, which means Wolf’s order stays in place.

According to Philadelphia Magazine, DeVito had previously argued Pennsylvania’s disaster law doesn’t give Wolf the authority to close businesses, since, according to the law, coronavirus is not technically a disaster. He also argued that the closures caused him an unfair disadvantage in campaigning, claiming that State Rep. Anita Kulik’s (D-Kennedy) office was open, even though Kulik’s office is actually closed, and that building is her official state government office, which is not related to her campaign.

In relation to today’s rejection, there were no noted dissents.

In a Facebook video, DeVito said that today’s rejection was just “one phase of our litigation” and claims the litigation against the governor’s orders are “not yet coming to an end.”

He added that he will continue to use his platform to fight Wolf and Rep. Kulik, as well as pressuring other lawmakers to end the stay-at-home orders.

"I am calling on incumbents in the General Assembly right now to exercise their authority to put an end to the state of emergency," said DeVito.

Today, Pennsylvania added 888 new positive coronavirus cases, and more than 500 deaths from coronavirus have occurred in the state over the last two weeks.

DeVito continued "As you know, I am a challenger, I currently hold no public office. … I am asking all my supporters to please contact your representatives and ask them to support the DeVito campaign’s efforts to reopen. So, again I am calling on business owners, please contact your representatives. Ask them: Why haven't they supported the DeVito lawsuit?"

According to a Public Policy Polling poll taken from April 20-21, the vast majority of Pennsylvanians (81%) said that we are currently practicing the correct levels of social distancing or we should be increasing social distancing measures. Only 17% of those polled said Pennsylvania should relax social distancing rules during the pandemic.

The court’s rejection is likely to have significant effects, as several other challenges to state business closures have cropped up across the country. In a lower court ruling, the DeVito campaign and other Pennsylvania businesses wrote that Wolf’s closures were an “ongoing deprivation of [businesses’] rights under the U.S. Constitution."

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that Pennsylvania’s closures will remain, but Wolf has already announced that northwestern and northcentral counties in the state will partially reopen this Friday.
DeVito said he believes coronavirus is real, and claimed in Philadelphia Magazine in late March that he was practicing social distancing, including stopping handshakes and door-to-door campaigning. However, on April 20, DeVito attended a protest in Downtown Pittsburgh with about 120 other anti-quarantine protesters, and was not practicing social distancing. DeVito even shook hands with a member of an armed militia that was at the protest. The armed militia members were sporting patches with a Valknot symbol, which has links to white nationalism.

DeVito is not related to the famous actor, who is supportive of stay-at-home orders.