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Supreme Court Denies Request From Illinois GOP Seeking To Block Rule Capping Number Of People At Political Rallies

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Republicans wanted relief from Gov. JB Pritzker’s coronavirus rule, which capped the number of people allowed at political rallies at 50.

The party took the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court and asked the Court to rule before 5 p.m. Saturday.

On Saturday, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh denied the request.

The Republicans argued the governor’s rule violated the U.S. Constitution, because it treated political rallies differently than church services or Black Lives Matter demonstrations:

“Though fighting COVID-19 is doubtless a compelling state interest, the Governor’s policy fails narrow tailoring because it treats similarly situated speakers differently. The First and Fourteenth Amendments both guarantee equal treatment of similar speakers. Government may no more favor one particular speaker or category of speech than it may target one for disfavor. Citizens United v. F.E.C., 558 U.S. 310, 340 (2010) (the First Amendment ‘[p]rohibit[s . . .] restrictions distinguishing among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.’). Yet that is what the Governor does with a policy that bans gatherings, but extends a de jure exemption to religious speakers and an ex cathedra exemption to Black Lives Matter speakers.”

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