Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, sent a letter to Chicago’s Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church last Friday stating she has the power to stop the congregation from meeting by “whatever means are necessary.”
In the letter, Arwady writes, “If you continue to host gatherings in violation of the Executive Order, the City of Chicago will take all necessary measures to abate the nuisance to ensure the safety of the City’s residents.” She continued,
If you continue to operate in defiance of the Executive Order, the City will pursue all available legal remedies, including those outlined above. Any future gatherings conducted contrary to the Order will be considered a failure to abate and the City will take steps necessary to abate, including Summary Abatement.
In a case called City of Kankakee v. New York Cent. R. Co., 387 Ill. 109 (1944), the Illinois Supreme Court has defined “Summary Abatement” under common law as follows:
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Summary Abatement would mean to put down or destroy without process. This means the inspector can, upon his own judgment, cause the alleged nuisance to stop on his own authority and effect a destruction of property at his discretion.
In other words, the inspector, at his discretion, can opt to have the building bulldozed to the ground without any due process or judicial hearing. This is pure tyranny and an affront to the freedoms afforded us in the Constitution of the United States.