(UnitedVoice.com) – As Americans grow weary headed into the third month of state-induced lockdowns, some are looking to the courts to protect their liberties, freedoms, and constitutional rights. In March, governors told citizens that stay-at-home orders and business closures were necessary to “flatten” the COVID-19 curve. In a bait and switch, Democratic governors are now keeping their states closed to eliminate the curve. A few weeks ago, US Attorney General William Barr said some states were going too far and equated stay at home orders with house arrest.
Now, legal pressure is being put on those governors.
In Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court ruled in agreement with plaintiffs and struck down the Democratic governor’s stay-at-home order. Effective immediately, restrictions on individuals, businesses, restaurants, and bars were lifted. The court ruled that the state’s top health official and governor wrongly bypassed the state legislature.
However, not every state has the unique conditions that Wisconsin had. For example, in Pennsylvania, the Democratic governor was given broad emergency powers by the legislature over the last 100 years. The state Supreme Court sided with the governor in a lawsuit, and the US Supreme Court refused to take up a case contesting the governor brought by several small business owners in early May.
Legal Challenges Growing
Legal challenges are piling up across the country as individuals, businesses, and legislatures feel governors are wrongly stripping liberties and freedoms.
Michigan has one of the strongest emergency declarations in the country. Like Wisconsin, the GOP-led legislature is suing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) over her unilateral extension of the state’s emergency declaration and stay-at-home order that regulates resident’s movements and business closures. The GOP lawsuit claims Whitmer did not have the authority to extend her orders another 28 days without legislative approval. The Michigan case could be decided as early as this week.
In the Golden State, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is facing more than a dozen lawsuits. Plaintiffs claim the state has violated the constitution by:
- Unjustly closing gun shops in violation of the Second Amendment
- Shutting down religious services in violation of the First Amendment
- Infringing on freedoms of speech and assembly by restricting protestors
One case even alleges that being forced to stay home constitutes forced detention without due process.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is being sued for banning mass protests. In a separate lawsuit, a federal judge agreed with plaintiffs who sued because the state forced churches to close their doors. The judge’s order now allows in-person religious services that follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
In a memo released on April 27, AG Barr reminded state and local officials that the US Constitution was not suspended during a pandemic. He warned about state laws or local ordinances crossing a line from the “appropriate use of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement” of constitutional rights. If it seems like they’re crossing the line, the Department of Justice (DOJ) might address that oversight in a federal court.
Fortunately, some Americans aren’t waiting on the DOJ to act.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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