By Illinois Review
Friday afternoon, Macon County Judge Rodney S. Forbes granted Rep. Dan Caulkins’ motion for summary judgment and entered a 1-1/2 page Final Judgment for Rep. Caulkins and against Gov. JB Pritzker’s assault weapons ban.
On Friday evening, Gov. Pritzker filed a notice of appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court.
The Final Judgment is as thin as the case record itself.
As Illinois Review previously reported, Rep. Caulkins sought summary judgment in a case having no record as the parties declined to take any discovery. The Final Judgment contains the conclusory statement that the assault weapons ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Illinois Constitution.
Noticeably absent from the Final Judgment is a permanent injunction against enforcement of the assault weapons ban. Previously, Rep. Caulkins had obtained a temporary restraining order, and now having prevailed on the merits of the case, one would expect to find a permanent injunction set forth in the Final Judgment.
Sources have confirmed to Illinois Review that the Illinois Attorney General’s office prepared the draft Final Judgment, which Rep. Caulkins approved, and Judge Forbes signed and entered. Whether the Illinois AG’s office intentionally omitted the permanent injunction language is not relevant, because it would have been incumbent on counsel for Rep. Caulkins to insist that the language be included.
Following the Court’s ruling, counsel for Rep. Caulkins appeared for an interview with Greg Bishop of Bishop On Air, WMAY Springfield, in which he initially states that he is “darned confident” that the Final Judgment provides for permanent injunctive relief, only to say 30 seconds later in the same interview that “we need to get it resolved,” presumably by elevating the matter to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In the meantime, Rep. Caulkins has been telling constituents that the assault weapons ban has been ruled unconstitutional and they are now free to purchase weapons that are subject to the restrictions of the assault weapons ban.
On Friday night Rep. Caulkins posted the Final Judgment on Facebook, and in comments to the question “So can I buy a gun now?” Rep. Caulkins responds, “yes.”
In a Facebook Live conducted Friday night, former Republican candidate Thomas DeVore described his frustration with the Final Judgment and stated his opinion at about the 42-minute mark that there is no statewide injunction at this time.
On Twitter, DeVore posted his skepticism to the Final Judgment and the timing of Pritzker’s notice of appeal, saying,
“We have a world record. Caulkins gets his court order which he agreed to with Pritzker and in just two hours Pritzker files his notice of appeal!! What a coincidence!! Lol”
DeVore is representing over 4700 Illinoisans and 148 federally licensed firearms dealer in a litigation against Pritzker’s assault weapons ban that has been consolidated before Judge Joshua Morrison in Effingham County.
DeVore has served discovery requests on defendants seeking to prove that there is no basis in the legislation for the exempted classes that give rise to the Equal Protection violations. According to DeVore, defendants have refused to answer.
The apparent basis of Judge Forbes’ Final Judgment and the temporary restraining orders obtained by DeVore in his litigations is that exemptions in the gun ban allow seemingly arbitrary groups of people to purchase or own banned weapons.
For instance, active and retired law enforcement are excluded from the ban, as are active military, prison guards, and employees in private security. Not excluded, however, are retired members of the military.
In other words, a mall cop is exempt from the assault weapons ban and is free to buy an AR-15, but a retired member of SEAL Team Six is not.
Gov. Pritzker has filed a notice of appeal directly with the Illinois Supreme Court, and it is a mandatory appeal that the High Court must entertain. Democrats have a comfortable 5-2 edge in the Illinois Supreme Court.
As our publisher Scott Kaspar has opined on national television, taking this case with no record to the Illinois Supreme Court may give Gov. Pritzker the win that he desperately needs.
But it also may upend the temporary restraining order in DeVore’s case, against the best interests of over 4700 Illinoisans.
It would have been politically expedient for Rep. Caulkins to do nothing, to continue to ride on the coattails of DeVore’s litigations and the early win that DeVore achieved in Effingham County.
Instead, it appears Caulkins got himself into a game of Russian Roulette with the governor who just pulled the trigger on an empty chamber and now has handed the revolver back to Caulkins for his turn.
Please continue to follow Illinois Review and DeVore Law Offices for more updates as they become available.