Coronavirus

An Overdue Rebuke to Politicians Who Think Anything Goes in a Pandemic

Two courts say COVID-19 lockdowns in Michigan and Pennsylvania were unconstitutional.

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As recently as early March, I was saying it "seems unlikely" that the United States would respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with lockdowns similar to Italy's. While we all know what has happened since then, two recent court decisions underline the unprecedented and legally untested nature of the sweeping social and economic restrictions that all but a few states imposed this year.

Last Friday the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) used to shutter businesses and confine people to their homes except for Whitmer-approved purposes improperly delegated legislative functions to the executive branch. And last month a federal judge in Pennsylvania said that state's lockdown violated the right of assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment, along with the 14th Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection.

Both decisions uphold a principle that politicians across the country seemed to forget while they rushed to curtail the epidemic last spring. As U.S. District Judge William Stickman put it in the Pennsylvania case, "the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency."

In the Michigan case, the relevant line was the distinction between writing the law and enforcing it. During a "public emergency," a state law enacted in 1945 says, "the governor may promulgate reasonable orders, rules, and regulations as he or she considers necessary to protect life and property or to bring the emergency situation within the affected area under control."

As illustrated by Whitmer's orders, which dictated when 10 million people could leave their homes, where they could go, what they could do, and whether they could earn a living, the power purportedly granted by that law is vast. It lasts indefinitely, and it is constrained only by the requirement that the governor's edicts be "reasonable" and seem "necessary" to her.

In the Michigan Supreme Court's view, those two words are tiny fig leaves that cannot disguise the naked transfer of the legislature's plenary police powers to a single executive-branch official. "The sheer magnitude of the authority in dispute, as well as its concentration in a single individual, simply cannot be sustained within our constitutional system of separated powers," the justices concluded.

The powers claimed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) were similarly broad, and Judge Stickman found that he had exercised them in a "shockingly arbitrary" way. While Wolf's reopening plan allowed people to congregate for commercial purposes, for instance, it banned political gatherings, including campaign events as well as protests in which the governor himself has nevertheless participated.

Even if those restrictions are treated as content-neutral "time, place, and manner" rules, Stickman concluded, they cannot be reconciled with the First Amendment, which requires that such policies be "narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest." Wolf's orders perversely treated gatherings protected by the First Amendment as less important than quotidian activities such as shopping and dining.

When Wolf decided which businesses could operate during his lockdown, he likewise drew puzzling distinctions with no obvious relationship to the risk of virus transmission. Small businesses were forbidden to sell hair products, furniture, and appliances, for example, while big-box retailers, because they were deemed "life-sustaining," continued to offer the very same items—a decree that shifted transactions from one place to another without stopping people from visiting stores to buy stuff.

Such capricious dictates, Stickman concluded, cannot pass muster even under the highly deferential "rational basis" test, which applies to economic regulations and to equal protection claims that do not involve "suspect" categories such as race and religion. "Distinctions cannot be arbitrary or irrational and pass scrutiny," he noted.

While the country has faced "many epidemics and pandemics," Stickman emphasized, "there have never previously been lockdowns of entire populations," which he called "such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional." His decision, like the Michigan Supreme Court's, is an overdue rebuke to politicians who think such emergencies make constitutional constraints irrelevant.

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Vote everyone out, every time.

    1. If you vote EVERYONE out, EVERY time, they have no reason to abide by voter’s wishes. Vote 50%, 60%, 75% of them out, instead.

      1. You could ask the voters to decide which percentage are thrown out, chosen randomly, regardless of winning their own re-election. 30% aye, 70% nay, you pick 30% randomly who lose period.

        1. The voters already do this.
          The reelect 95% of their own representatives, and hope everyone else votes out 50%.

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      2. idk what ‘abide by voters wishes’ even means and I doubt any politician (or anyone else) has ever even tried to parse that except via govt by manipulated polls.

        The way pols will hold govt accountable is by knowing that they themselves will soon enough be the object of govt action rather than the manager of govt action.

        The combination is why sortition works better than election.

    2. Send the assholes to prison. There should be a punitive consequence to vast unprecedented and substantial over-reaches of power, particularly when that abuse is to shut down constitutional rights. People bitch about the qualified immunity of police officers, yet don’t bat an eye when the governor of a state says you aren’t allowed to earn your living and puts movement restrictions on citizens that would make Mao proud.

      Yes, there are powers that go with the office, but this idea that your idiot next door neighbor who you’d normally tell to fuck off when he’s into your shit is now oozing vast wisdom simply because they got elected is utter bullshit.

      1. Trump has every authority to send DOJ after them but won’t for some reason.

        1. Bingo! His DOJ sent a gaggle of FBI agents to investigate a noose in a NASCAR garage. But basically violating pretty much all of 1A no problem , governors discretion.

          And what exactly would the FBI do if it indeed was intended to be a noose and not a pull rope? Are nooses in NASCAR garages illegal?

        2. Under what law does the DoJ have jurisdiction to prosecute state overreach of state statutes?

          Do you not see the irony of trying to rein in governors who overreach their legal authority by calling for the president to do the same thing?

          1. They are violating the constitution, not merely state statutes.

          2. 18 USC 242
            Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;

            1. Don’t forget Article IV, section 4 of the US Constitution:

              “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union, a republican
              form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and
              on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature
              cannot be convened), against domestic violence. ”

              Of course, the legislators would have to grow spines.

      2. In Discworld, the inhabitants of Fourecks imprison their prime minister as soon as they are elected, they figure it saves time.

    3. Every vote should include a vote on what to do with the incumbent. Not in general for all incumbents; specifically for the current incumbent. Not only if he loses; right now, as soon as the votes are counted. Oh, maybe postpone it to the end of the term, let’s be fair; but not postponed if he wins. Or maybe, yes, postponed if he wins, but all such votes are cumulative.

      Choices:
      1. Does the incumbent’s past term count towards a pension?
      2. Does the incumbent deserve a prison term as long as his past term, just for pissing off the voters?
      3. Does the incumbent owe a fine equal to his last term’s total pay?
      4. Does the incumbent deserve a bonus? Only available if no bill he ever voted for, in any term, has ever been deemed unconstitutional by any court, whether reversed on appeal or not.

      And if the voters decide a legislator deserves jail, he is disqualified from winning.

      1. 5. Should the incumbent be fed feet first into a woodchipper?

        1. 6. Should the incumbent be forced to experience the punishment of the laws he voted for?

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    5. As George Carlin said, “term limits won’t work because you will just get another crop of selfish ignorant assholes”.

      A better system would be like they do for jury duty: randomly select a certain number of citizens from each state to serve for a given number of years. This could work at the state level certainly and people would be willing to do it if it were not a full time legislature. They could also select a number to serve in congress and there could still be elections for governor, president and maybe senate.

    6. Great idea! We should limit not only the length of political offices, but also mark out the powers each office has, and punishment for overriding those powers and making laws of their own choosing.

    7. Wolf won’t be running again BTW

  2. It’s about damn time. I never locked down, been going to work since it started and went to the store or where ever when needed or wanted too.

  3. Sounds like PA had more constitutional infringements than you could shake a Stickman at.

    And Whitmer’s so damn evil she’s going to try to enforce her orders any way she can.

    1. Yet the 3d Circuit stayed the order. And Professor Volokh gave a pretty negative assessment of Judge Stickman’s order or at least its chances on appeal.

      1. What were the reasons given for staying the ruling? I’ve seen no mention of that. Also…is there a link Volokh’s comments anywhere?

  4. …it banned political gatherings, including campaign events as well as protests in which the governor himself has nevertheless participated.

    Wolf going to the Floyd protests was the best part.

    1. Whitmer did as well. And her husband went to their vacation home while the rest of us could not.

      1. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  5. Where is the Third Circuit when you need them? The moribund Court does nothing with the cases brought to it. Shame!

  6. Pennsylvania is really taking it in the ear in the courts lately.

  7. Michigan is a start, the US Supreme court is the one that needs to rule these mandates unconstitutional. Otherwise it is purely political based on Democrat against Republicans.

  8. In MI the witch will just make everyone of her orders a health department order and then its OK.

    She needs to be arrested for contempt of court. But we are at that point where the dictator just states they won’t comply with the other allegedly coequal branches of government.

    In PA Strickman’s ruling is dead on BUT NEVER underestimate the power of a bunch of “Obama ” judges. So they have issued a stay and I’m predicting a long delay to hear the appeal and then an over turn because of course “the governors can do anything they want in a self declared emergency”.

    I mean its QED you grandma Hater! The founders (racist slaveholders) forgot to put that handy suspend the constitution clause in the constitution don’t you know. Fixed that , Obama judge!

    1. She needs to be arrested for contempt of court.

      A society with balls would have removed this harpy long before now, courts or not.

  9. Dear MI and PA; there is an election coming up next month. Please remember which political party hates individual freedoms the most.

  10. In the case of Michigan, she could have just worked with the legislature to craft a more common sense approach instead she refused to work with them because they are led by a Republican majority. You see this time and again with the Democrats, they refuse to work with the other party and then blame them when nothing gets done or in this case become the dictator they claim Trump is.

    1. [Here] In MI the entire kerfluffle is being case as Democrat governor vs Republican [State] Senate; it seems hardly anyone among the citizenry really cares about whether “the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency.”

      In fact I often hear how the Constitution is antiquated and must accommodate current trends, technology, and needs. And amending is “just too hard.” In this case, they just want the government to protect them and don’t notice if their “inalienable” rights are trashed, short or long term. This is the real threat.

      1. Governor Whitmer said the following yesterday: “Here’s the news: COVID-19 does not care about a court order. COVID-19 does not care about a legislative calendar. It doesn’t care that we’re all tired of dealing with this. It is a continual threat.”

        What she’s really saying is: “”Here’s the news: I do not care about a court order. I do not care about a legislative calendar. I do not care that we’re all tired of dealing with this. I am a continual threat.”

        Hence the problem in Michigan. None of this is going away until “the science” overrules politicians like Governor Whitmer. There are still enough people who believe that they will die if they catch the virus and consequently the draconian lockdown measures are required. People who die “with COVID” rather than “from COVID” are being used to measure impact. Testing is still inaccurate.

        1. hey, at least she’s not threatening to make 60% of office workers work from home even after the health crisis is long over.

        2. The pandemic is already over. Clinging to cases stinks of a giant CYA exercise. Anybody that can ready a graph can tell that cases have been disassociated with deaths and hospitalizations all over the world. The lockdowns are not going to look good in the future.

          1. History is written by the victor. Keep electing people like Whitmer and all anyone in the future will be told is how much worse it would’ve been if we didn’t have such brave heroes to protect us from the virus the Trumpenfurher inflicted on us.

        3. In the first place, she imposed rules that might possibly have been appropriate for a few counties around Detroit upon the 60% of Michiganders living where the infection and death rates were an order of magnitude lower. There never could have been a scientific justification for treating the UP and the Detroit suburbs alike – but she would never get many votes from the UP.

    2. It’s important to remember that whenever a Democrat is bitching about “divisiveness” or “refusing to compromise,” what they really mean is, “These people aren’t giving me everything I want while I give them nothing in return.”

      You can’t co-exist with people whose ideology is rooted in bad-faith double-standards. You recognize and accept that they are authoritarian shitheads and treat them as such.

      1. “You recognize and accept that they are authoritarian shitheads and treat them as such.”

        Nominated for best post of the day.

      2. Great comment. If you look at the history of our country, you will see that DEMOCRATS are responsible for most of what ails this country. Yep, black people were abused due to DEMOCRATS. The great emancipator was Republican (Lincoln) and dems continue to to this day to act as RULERS rather than representatives (look at HIllary if you don’t believe me).

    3. I have a different view of this.

      In states where there is a Democratic governor and a Republican legislative majority, the Republicans’ smartest move is to refuse to cooperate with the governor and let the governor try to confront the crisis using executive powers. There is no downside to this for Republicans because the governor can probably adequately confront the crisis yet will also take all the heat for trampling constitutional rights, crushing the economy, etc.

      Cooperating with the governor under such circumstances is certainly political malpractice, and it is not excused by necessity because the governor probably does have all the necessary power.

  11. Last week a three judge federal panel in Philly (who I believe were appointed by Obama and/or Clinton, but no news stories revealed those details) reversed Stickman’s order, and stayed Gov. Wolf’s indoor and outdoor occupancy limits (as the case is being appealed).

    Then yesterday, Wolf came out with a new scheme of limiting the number of people indoors and outdoors (that allows somewhat more football fans in stadia, and more people in large buildings).
    https://triblive.com/sports/gov-wolf-eases-gathering-restrictions-with-formula-tied-to-capacity-limits/

    Seems like Wolf is now concerned that hundreds of thousands of football fans in PA are going to vote for Trump.

    1. Nothing was “reversed,” which is the higher court saying the lower court got it wrong. The order was stayed. Could be right, could be wrong, but it won’t go into effect for now.

      Anyway, the opinion staying the order was written by Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith, who was appointed to a federal district judgeship by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and to the Third Circuit by George W. Bush in 2002. Judge Brooks had previously been a Pennsylvania state court judge appointed by Dick Thornburgh.

      The other member of the panel (which was unanimous) were Michael A. Chagares (appointed to the Third Circuit from private practice by George W. Bush in 2006 to replace Michael Chertoff) and Patty Shwartz (appointed to the Third Circuit from a federal magistrate judgeship by Barack Obama in 2012 to replace Maryanne Trump Barry, of all people).

      So one Obama judge, two GWB judges.

      1. And a bunch of GWB cabinet members are supporting Joe Hidem.
        Just goes to show that GWB was no conservative.

  12. I would like to see an argument that shopping and dining are protected by the First Amendment. I see no reason to believe that “freedom of assembly” applies to specifically political and religious assembly.

    1. Not ALL speech is protected. The amendment was intended to protect political speech and religious speech. Pornography, for instance, was not protected. Similarly, attending a football game might not have been seen as a protected gathering. But, over the years, especially during the 20th century, the scope of protected speech under the first amendment was greatly expanded, such as regarding commercial speech, for example.

      These days, it seems to me that virtually any form of speech that isn’t strictly barred (such as inciting a riot, immediate threats, etc), is protected. If you want to make absolutely sure your dining “assembly” is protected, just be sure to include in it some reference to a politician or some god or something, and you are good to go.

      1. It is hard to make that case when the First Amendment does not qualify speech and assembly in such a way. It seems very arbitrary to privilege religious and political conduct above all others, arbitrary in the exact manner of government that the American Revolution was designed to overthrow.

        I would argue that the court through the 20th century did not necessarily expand the scope of the First Amendment, but they more completely explored its scope. This law was not frequently challenged in courts before the 20th century so the increase in litigation gave courts greater opportunity to determine what the law is, including the limitations that they set forth like incitement and obscenity.

        1. “This law was not frequently challenged in courts before the 20th century so the increase in litigation gave courts greater opportunity to determine what the law is, including the limitations that they set forth like incitement and obscenity.”

          I agree.

    2. The Ninth Amendment. Everyone seems to ignore it.

  13. LANSING, Mich. – More coronavirus (COVID-19) orders for the state of Michigan will be issued “in the coming hours and days,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer believes.

    Whitmer expressed her support for the guidelines issued Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Just days after the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the governor’s emergency orders , MDHHS issued regulations regarding masks, gatherings and some businesses across the state.

    “We are aligned, and I’m very pleased with the action (MDHHS) is taking,” Whitmer said. “I would anticipate more.”

    1. A series of counties issued their own rules following the announcement, but then MDHHS’s announcement on Monday put back into effect some of Whitmer’s previous safety rules.

      Whitmer said there is more to come.

      “The Department of Health and Human Services, the director, Robert Gordon, have epidemic powers that he can and is using, and I would anticipate more orders even yet today, perhaps, or in the coming days,” Whitmer said. “He can extend those, and I fully anticipate until we have some comfort that we’ve gotten our arms around this disease, that they will be extended.”

  14. The study provides evidence that US states mandating the use of face masks in public had a greater decline in daily COVID-19 growth rates after issuing these mandates compared with states that did not issue mandates.

    https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00818

    The courts are killing us.

    1. So trash your most fundamental rights, for an unlimited time, in order to achieve a given goal to reduce infection rates?

      Forgive me if I missed any possible sarcasm that was intended here [that Poe Horizon again] but I see that as a much bigger threat on my horizon.

      Understand I work in health care [in an emergency department] and I appreciate the need for people to take reasonable precautions to limit their exposure. And wearing masks [and respirators in the presence of known or suspected infections] do work, but how about some education? I see people driving around inside their cars, or riding bicycles in the open by themselves with masks on. That is just foolish. You catch the virus by being in proximity to someone who is infected, or possible picking it up off a surface that was recently exposed. If provided accurate and not politicized information, roughly 80% [pareto principle, it works] of people will choose to do what is sensible. That would be more than enough to contain this virus.

      Instead you want to mandate and regulate everyone into compliance. That does not, and should not, work.

      1. Fundamental rights don’t exist. It’s a libertarian construct. Like The Matrix.

        1. OK, in that case, why does it matter how many people die?

        2. “Fundamental rights don’t exist. It’s a libertarian construct. Like The Matrix.”

          If “fundamental rights” don’t exist, then no rights of any kind exist. I am thinking your statement is designed, specifically, to start some kind of a rant or tirade. Commenters on this website are already champions when it comes to that. (for better or worse). You are a day late and a dollar short.

          1. He did get what he came here for; a “fuck off slaver”

            Why does this site attract so many troll provocateurs? Because they usually find what they are looking for though, in this instance, one “fuck off slaver” is just about right.

          2. The problem with fundamental rights is they can be whatever you assert them to be. Apparently it is written in the fabric of the cosmos that wearing a mask is some great violation of rights?

            The unavoidable fact that rights are simply laws and not natural physical realities may make it difficult for you to develop an ethical system, but you should try anyway. It’s not like you can point to the holy scripture where these rights are found. (And if you think the constitution is that scripture, I’ll remind you that it originally excluded all women from the right to vote until the 20th century).

            1. “The problem with fundamental rights is they can be whatever you assert them to be. ”

              The problem with steaming piles of lefty shit is that they think THEY get to define rights.
              You don’t.
              So long as I’m not actively harming anyone, my freedoms know no bounds.

              1. Okay, try flying off a bridge.

                1. “Okay, try flying off a bridge.”

                  Try translating that from Lefty-shit into English.

                  1. You aren’t really that free on a good day. That’s even before you start interacting with other humans and the freedom/responsibility equations get all complicated.

                    1. Tony, you and your kind need to go.

                    2. The entire Trump administration catching covid has really fucked with your brains huh? You’re lashing out like wounded baboons.

                    3. “You aren’t really that free on a good day.”

                      Yes, you are.
                      Well, maybe not you, asking permission for everything you do and then asking directions on how to do it.
                      I’m referring to adults.

            2. Speaking of troll provocateurs, here is one now….

            3. which dictated when 10 million people could

              1. leave their homes,
              2. where they could go,
              3. what they could do, and
              4. whether they could earn a living, and
              5. the power purportedly granted by that law is vast. It lasts indefinitely, and it is constrained only by the requirement that the governor’s edicts be “reasonable” and seem “necessary” to her.

              And if you honestly fine with that, then you are indeed the steaming pile of shit Sevo always says you are.

              1. Hard to do any of those things with a ventilator tube in your chest.

                  1. Do you have any idea what psychopaths you people look like as you desperately flail to defend the lazy, incompetent policies of that fat sack of disease?

                    1. We don’t. Your problem is that as a progressive, you can’t ha dale dissenting ideas. You are an adherent to your communist cause and any contrary ideas fill you with rage.

                    2. “Do you have any idea what psychopaths you people look like as you desperately flail to defend the lazy, incompetent policies of that fat sack of disease?”

                      Do you have any hint of honesty in the pile of lefty shit you are?

                1. “Hard to do any of those things with a ventilator tube in your chest.”

                  They don’t go “in your chest.” Yes, people die from Covid, and a host of other things, every day. But this “pandemic” is not an opportunity to dispense with some other things, without which, I do not think life would be worth living. You on the other hand seem to think the Bill of Rights is just an obsolete obstacle that gets in the way of authorities giving you the kind of life you want.

                  That is my view, but I realize that cowards might think otherwise.

                  1. What kind of asshole calls people cowards for trying to avoid death and disability? There is something seriously wrong with you people. This exact attitude is why the entire executive branch is in quarantine.

                    1. What kind of asshole demands others look out for your health?
                      Answer: A stinking pile of lefty shit.

                    2. Anyone who’s ever gone to the doctor?

                    3. You are free to continue “trying to avoid death and disease”. A lot of people are not free to earn a living.

                      Wow. You wonder why people are hostile to your posts. Amazing.

                2. Wow. Guess we should all stay home then.

            4. “The problem with fundamental rights is they can be whatever you assert them to be.”

              Uh. No.

              The development of “fundamental human rights” is a result of a many centuries of human thought.

              “Fundamental rights,” by my reckoning, are, generally, “negative” rights due all humans, and have been encoded in much of the world. Such rights sometimes require “positive” rights to make them enforceable, particularly against governments, as in the US Constitution.

              1. Surely you can’t object to skepticism of calling something fundamental that didn’t exist for 99.99% of the time humans have been around. I’m just not sure how useful it is to refer to preexisting rights when even the great codifying documents were so flawed that they didn’t originally include any women or nonwhites in their constructions.

                If this is a meaningless difference of framing, then what’s the problem? We both must agree that rights are hard-won, and we aren’t done securing them for people.

                1. “Surely you can’t object to skepticism of calling something fundamental that didn’t exist for 99.99% of the time humans have been around.”

                  Which, like almost everything you post here is a lie.

                2. So, Tony, do you think that a cave-dwelling member of homo-sapiens didn’t believe they had rights? They seemed to believe in deities, or some kind of after-life, or in a spirit-world, and they formed working, stable communities, all which are rather more complex abstract constructs than, say, believing one has a right to hunt and eat in order to stay alive… well, I think you might want to rethink your opinion of primitive homo-sapiens.

            5. Unfortunately for you, the concept of American fundamental rights is a reality. Your logical fallacies and fallacious argumentation don’t change that. The United States was founded on the concept that man, or human beings if you want to be politically correct, is born with certain unalienable rights, endowed by their Creator, that government cannot infringe upon and that government is instituted, by the consent of the governed, to secure these rights. The Constitution limits the extent of the power of the federal government and its powers are few and defined. These are the principles on which this country was founded. Your objections to it are irrelevant.
              Also, the claim that “the problem with unalienable rights are they can be whatever you want them to be”. Not so. The 10th amendment. All powers not given to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved for the people and the States. So, it’s up to the people in each state, acting through their elected representatives in the legislature. If you don’t like the laws in a state, vote with your feet and move to another state. If you can’t, appeal to the legislature to change the law, maybe even run for office yourself. If you can’t do that, suck it up and respect the people’s right to govern themselves. These are the principles on which this country was founded. Your objections to it are irrelevant. This concept is something you don’t like probably because it would prevent you from forcing the whole country to validate and embrace your depraved and perverted sexual proclivities.
              And, regarding universal suffrage, your grievance with the Biblical roles of men and women I won’t debate as, since you seem to be an atheist, you and I simply won’t agree. However, it’s interesting to point out that the right for women to vote was done legitimately through the amendment process…which is how it’s supposed to be done…not through the Supreme Court where 5 revisionist unelected lawyers can impose their views and feelings on the rest of the nation or progressive policy people don’t want. You seek to remake the US in your own image of progressivism through illegitimate means. If you want change, do it legitimately through the amendment process or letting the states decide for themselves via the legislatures. These are the principles on which this country was founded. Your objections to it are irrelevant. Your ignorance and arrogance keep you from entertaining the possibility that your whole view on American Constitutional law, freedom and liberty is wrong…which it is.

              I suggest visiting this website to begin your education on our founding principles and values and the Constitution: publiushuldah.wordpress.com

              How our Constitution is reflective of the Bible is demonstrated here: https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/category/bible-and-civil-government/

              1. “The unavoidable fact that rights are simply laws and not natural physical realities may make it difficult for you to develop an ethical system, but you should try anyway.”

                As I demonstrated, your philosophical ideas of where rights come from is not what this country was founded on and you can’t decide to overrule that on a whim. And the ethical system you propose would be man-made, hence arbitrary and relative.

                1. Instead of whining about its implications of “God”, just be thankful. You don’t get to change it by decree just because you don’t like it. However, if you want a country based on an atheistic ethical system, you can:

                  a.) Go form your own country

                  or

                  b.) Topple this one and replace it with one based on your own principles and values

                  But with what’s going on and their own radical views, it looks like option B is the objective of progressives afterall.

              2. People who mention the 10th amendment while ignoring the 9th need to read the whole Constitution. Also, many states instituted Women’s Suffrage before the 19th was adopted, starting with WY.

                https://www.history.com/news/the-state-where-women-voted-long-before-the-19th-amendment

            6. Yeah but I do have a right to have the government force other people to pay for my basic needs. And stuff.

              Just so we’re clear on that.

        3. Fundamental rights don’t exist.

          You.
          Are.
          Full.
          Of.
          Shit.

      2. It is already political and people are not getting accurate information. As a medical professional you know how to filter information. You also know that was was true yesterday may be disproven today. Medicine requires the ability to deal with uncertainty in a critical environment.

        Most people develop fixed attitudes which becomes personal. “Deodorants cause breast cancer” for example. They do not but once the idea becomes fixed many people will stick to it.

        The president, his wife and staff members getting the virus was a preventable error. The one person who should be the most protected from danger was not. He has sent mixed messages about this from the start and continues to do so.

        As you know in the hospital people make mistakes. Prevention of harm happens on many levels. As we know from airline safety for example if those who may be below in rank yet are expert in some area do not feel free to speak up bad things can happen.

        We have seen in this administration a top down approach where if you dare to question the leader you can be humiliated and lose your job. That is a recipe for disaster.

        The White House is like the ED or the deck of an aircraft carrier. There is a lot going on at once and results are critical. I do not think the current administration sees it that way.

        1. Spot on; recipes for disaster indeed. Good sense and judgement [and of course competence and vigilance] goes a long way toward preventing that; however, I have learned that you are not likely to inform someone who has made up their mind as to what they are going to believe. Never underestimate the ability of a human being to deceive themselves in the face of any amount of contrary evidence. And to bring any number of devotees along with them.

    2. “…The courts are killing us.”

      We can hope lefty scum like you first.

    3. sonicfilter,
      This is nothing personal. Did you read how that study was conducted? They just looked at the numbers that the States put out. They did no real research. Any conclusions are based on the accuracy of the State’s statistics. How well do you trust those numbers? I’ve seen a Death Certificate listing “Traumatic Head Injury with COVID19” as a cause of death.

      1. “This is nothing personal…”

        Why not?
        Scumbag lefty is trying to take your life away; I take that personally, and suggest s/he fuck off and die.

  15. I wonder a couple of things. Is our constitution a suicide pact? What if a deadlier pandemic is unleashed, say, airborne Ebola. What are we to do? I understand that there are plenty of good arguments to be made that the Governors and President cannot issue lockdown orders, but will the legislatures step in and issue the orders if necessary?

    Lost in these constitutional debates are what would and should legislatures do. It’s as if Republicans enjoy nitpicking the legality of laws as a cover for actually legislating. They do the same thing with Obamacare. They critique all the little nuances without crafting their own systematic replacement. Now I understand that one could say that we shouldn’t be locking down. That the pandemic is not as deadly as scientists say or that lockdowns don’t work, but if that is the case they should be front and center with those ideas in addition to their constitutional arguments. It seems that one of the reasons governors are issuing decrees is because GOP legislatures are pandering to conspiracy theories and not doing their job. This pandemic is hitting the sweet spot; deadly enough to cause 200,000+ deaths and yet not deadly enough to scare the average person into wanting a lockdown. So in essence, Republicans are comfortable allowing nursing home patients to die in large quantities – a defacto death panel.

    1. Your post is filled with so much ignorance I’m not going to bother, other than, fuck off slaver.

    2. So many false assertions and outright falsehoods in a single comment. The best part is, for all your complaining about not having a solution when nitpicking, you offer no solutions when presenting your ‘arguments.’ The smarmy fake reasonable tone may seem like it should sound intelligent, but based on the ignorant points you’ve made, it comes off as poorly as the rest. There are no defacto death panels of Republicans, no GOP legislatures pandering to conspiracy theories -except in your partisan mind. As for nursing home deaths, you may want to check on that, you have the (R) swapped with (D). The people here critiquing lockdowns and mask mandates provide data and solutions, unlike you. You are outmatched, and would likely be happier at vox or dailykos where everybody will agree with you.

    3. “So in essence, Republicans are comfortable allowing nursing home patients to die in large quantities – a de facto death panel.”

      I didn’t know Governor Andrew Cuomo was a Republican.

      1. And as a Michigander, I am extremely surprised to learn that Gretchen Whitmer is a Republican.

        1. Charlie Baker claims to be a Republican, but he’s little to no better than Cuomo, Newsom, Whitemer, et al.

    4. Woof, the gaslighting in this post could illuminate New York City for a year.

    5. Allow me to repost my comment above:

      Understand I work in health care [in an emergency department] and I appreciate the need for people to take reasonable precautions to limit their exposure. And wearing masks [and respirators in the presence of known or suspected infections] do work, but how about some education? I see people driving around inside their cars, or riding bicycles in the open by themselves, with masks on. That is just foolish. You catch the virus by being in proximity to someone who is infected, or possible picking it up off a surface that was recently exposed. If provided accurate and not politicized information, roughly 80% [pareto principle, it works, and has never failed me] of people will choose to do what is sensible. That would be more than enough to contain this virus.

      Instead you want to mandate and regulate everyone into compliance. That does not, and should not, work. What you are saying in essence is that we have to relinquish liberty and live like a colony of ants in order to survive.

      Stop being such a stupid troll.

      1. You cannot obviously mandate everyone into compliance. What you can do is lead by example and foster an environment where they will generally do the right thing.

        That is where our political leaders have failed. They have turned a public health issue into a political circus.

        1. Both sides, to be sure.

      2. I don’t understand why it’s a problem if people are driving their cars with masks on.

        1. It’s not a “problem,” it’s just stupid.

          1. Sometimes you forget you’re wearing it. Or you don’t want to touch it too often. Stop getting triggered over masks.

            1. “Sometimes you forget you’re wearing it…”

              And sometimes you almost forget you’re on your knees.

        2. Well some people just do it because it is easier if you are running errands from one stop to another.

          1. No. It is not “easier”. That’s ridiculous.

        3. The people who were the masks that actually work (N95) can, after a while, get apoxia (sp.?)- essentially, you breathe in your own exhalation, and can pass out. There have been several reported accidents as a result of that. No deaths I’m aware of, but other injuries and, of course, property damage. That’s not exactly “harmless.”

    6. “…Is our constitution a suicide pact?..”

      Are you capable of rational thought?

    7. I wonder a couple of things. Is our constitution a suicide pact?

      You are living, breathing evidence that the world suffers from a paucity of suicide pacts rather than an abundance.

      Do you still fall for the “Let’s see who can hit the other the softest” trick? I can only assume yes considering that you seem to be perplexed about how to survive a suicide pact.

    8. Cuomo isn’t a Republican.

  16. The legislature, seeing very clearly that these tyrants were violating their Oath of Office, could have removed them at any time and are fully culpable in their criminal actions. Even now, after the courts have declared their actions to be completely outside their authority, an action that vacates the office they hold, they still haven’t been removed, impeached, indicted or put under arrest and charged with crimes against humanity….
    And the criminal B.A.R. Association just sits in the background, monopolizing our justice system, pulling the puppet strings, destroying people’s lives, with no repercussions at all.

    1. I think it’s a matter of professional courtesy. One crooked power mad politician doesn’t want to set a precedent for sending the law after other crooked power mad politicians.

      It’s the same reasons corporate boards give golden parachutes to departing executives, even when they ran the company into the ground.

  17. And Governor Philip Murphy continues on down the Turnpike of Tyranny unabated. The POLICE STATE fully intact.

  18. Superb, what a website it is! This web site provides helpful data to us, keep it up.

    1. Even bots have bad days.

  19. What if we designated pandemic-denying Republicans as mass-murdering terrorists? Or are right-wing judges giving terrorists constitutional rights now?

    1. “What if we designated pandemic-denying Republicans as mass-murdering terrorists?”

      What if you posted once without lying, you steaming pile of lefty shit?

      1. Could you do me a favor and work on expanding your repertoire of insults? I love a good insult, but how about putting in some effort?

        1. “Could you do me a favor and work on expanding your repertoire of insults?”

          No, you steaming pile of lefty shit.

          1. It just comes across as if you aren’t interested in the art of insults and are more motivated by maintaining a sealed bubble of propagandistic rightwing epistemic closure. Like someone told you the Easter Bunny isn’t real.

            1. Fuck off and die, you steaming pile of lefty shit.

    2. Contrary to Twitter, silence isn’t violence.
      Government inaction isn’t murder. At worst it’s negligence.
      Denying civil rights to anyone under color of law (as in shutting down their business or forcing healthy people to stay at home) is an actual federal crime, with punishments including fines and up to 10 years in prison.

  20. The author omits the point that a higher court has stayed enforcement of the order issued by Judge Stickman, a lifelong clinger with scant record.

    1. You are not worthy of dialogue because it would be utterly wasted on you.

    2. “…a lifelong clinger with scant record.”

      As opposed to a bigoted asshole.

  21. “the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency.”

    That last clause is a lynchpin. If a/the government or leader could be relied upon to say “I will take this power in order to solve this problem in a given time or I have failed and will abdicate it.” Some of these rights, from then until today, would/could be understood to be temporarily sacrificial. The ironic thing about it is that people like Whitmer lack the self-awareness to realize that, by extending their authority well beyond their ability and well after their impotence is obvious, they are the problem.

  22. Fortunately there is a federal law that allows for criminal prosecution and imprisonment up to 10 years for anyone who denies anyone their civil rights under color of law, 18 USC 242.

    I expect the indictments for Newsom, Witmer, Cuomo, etc. will be handed down any day now, right?

    1. Don’t forget to put the mask on between bites.

      Fricken derelict psychopaths.

      1. You’re still going with the line that restrictions are too onerous when the president, First Lady, most of the west wing, and all but one of the joint chiefs of staff are in quarantine after being infected with covid?

        1. “You’re still going with the line that restrictions are too onerous when the president, First Lady, most of the west wing, and all but one of the joint chiefs of staff are in quarantine after being infected with covid?”

          I also heard one of them has a cold.

        2. Trump is already asymptomatic. He got over it in a week, like virtually everyone who gets COVID.

          So yes, they are too onerous for a sickness that minor.

          1. He could be asymptomatic or he could be hopped up on the steroids they gave him. Still, it has killed 215,000 Americans. You guys conveniently forget that all the time.

            1. 215,000 people have died WITH COVID, not FROM COVID.

              You guys conveniently forget that all the time.

              1. Not a thing.

                It’s just a politicians. Stop worshiping him like a tool.

  23. All in prison. Anyone who forced masks on kids.

    That goes for the leaders of Quebec and Ontario.

    They’re engaging in child abuse and it INFURIATES me.

    These son of a bitches should be tarred and feathered. They’re so gutless and clueless they’re willing to manically damage the education and well-being of children.

    And the parents who support this crap better snap out of their fear spell because they have no clue what damage they’re doing.

    Whitmore even dresses like the bitch she is.

    1. Wait till you find out that some parents even require their children to wash their hands before a meal.

      1. To a steaming pile of lefty shit, that’s considered ‘clever’.

  24. Need more judges with this philosophy and far more citizens with some civil disobedience to such orders.

  25. I feel that if Obama had infected half the government with AIDS, you guys would care.

    1. Given how AIDS gets transmitted I think we’d all have a lot of questions for how he managed to get so many people infected. The Kennedys in particular would want to know how their high score got beaten.

      1. I’m glad we agree that covid-19 is much more dangerous than AIDS.

        1. If, in your wild hypothetical, we blamed Obama for the toilet seats not being cleaned enough, maybe you’d be on to something.

  26. Democrats and Republicans critique each other on the smallest matters, never favorably or supportive of each other, making each side look petty. They are not embarrassed because their audience lapses it up uncritically.

    I am witnessing a huge exception, a silence by politicians and pundits alike, with regard to the governors who tyrannically ordered house arrests, masks, and social distancing. Governors who did not are ignored also. If a health emergency was so dangerous as to justify suspension of rights, why wouldn’t all governors do so? If they didn’t why wouldn’t all this be major news and political fodder? If the danger isn’t enough to justify suspension of the constitution, now or ever, why wouldn’t politicians/pundits say so? Are they really on the same side with respect to their unlimited use of authority? Isn’t that what their silence proves? Isn’t this fundamental political paradigm what unites all parties? Isn’t this initiation of violence against innocent citizens totalitarianism? Isn’t this the most dangerous threat “we the people” face?

    1. As far as I’m concerned, the government and the vast bulk of the media are in league with each other to whip up a frenzied, frothing, furor of fear, hence the silence. Removing the fear is good for neither ratings or power-mongering.

  27. You’ve discussed the rights the Constitution affords the people, but the problem, like many in today’s society, needs to be examined in the context of community.

    Does the Constitution give someone the right to endanger their neighbor?

    The anti-mask people are a good example, on small scale.

    If a maskter declares he has the God given right to not wear a mask he’s increasing the chance the the people, note the plural there, around him will be infected with a potentially fatal disease.

    He’s deciding for himself, yes, but he’s deciding for ME, as well, and frankly he has no moral or legal right to do that, sorry.

    Issues with putting a piece of cloth on your face is a trivial and easily solved example (suck it up and put the damn mask on) and by no means addresses the problems outlined in the article.

    1. A person can be deemed a risk to others only if he is in fact diseased. The law of averages is irrelevant.

      1. So if someone points a gun at your head it only matters if it’s loaded?

        Is someone who won’t wear a mask going to get tested? Suppose he’s asymptomatic?

        I love it when others make decisions for me, don’t you? Isn’t that what this is all about?

        The government making decisions for you is bad, but you making decisions for me is OK?

    2. “If a maskter declares he has the God given right to not wear a mask he’s increasing the chance the the people, note the plural there, around him will be infected with a potentially fatal disease.”

      This is the bullshit line you’ve been fed. Or made up in the gooey,
      grey matter in your brain? Or, you’re just a scared ninny and want to make your personal health risks a responsibility of others who aren’t as fearful as yourself.

      If I go out of my house without a mask because I want to just simply have the air on my face, it’s exactly the same concept as you wearing the mask because you don’t want viruses to get in your nose or mouth. In this scenario, you have the given choice to stay in if you still don’t feel safe and I can choose to go out for the air on my face thing. You just can’t spin it any other way, chief. You do you, I do me. If you need MORE YOU…do extra stuff: Isolate, wear filtered masks with shields, hazmat suits, carry around hand sanitizer, and if need be, drink it. Shelter in place until a time at which you may emerge when the world is pathogen-free.
      But what I suspect you really want, is for me to give something up, so that you don’t have to. And just like I’m not going to give you my firstborn because you can’t have one, or not have a dog because you’re allergic, or keep my thoughts to myself because you’d like me to….I’ll do whatever the hell I want and expect you to stay out of my business and I’ll stay out of yours.

      1. “Or made up in the gooey, grey matter in your brain? Or, you’re just a scared ninny”.

        Touché!

        Maybe I’m a little overly sensitive because I personally know several people who were infected, including two who died, one of whom was a friend.

        Again, you think you have the right to make life and death decisions for me based on what you’ve read on Twitter or Facebook.

        You’re wrong, see “two who died”, above.

        The evil government can’t make decisions for you, but you can make decisions for me, is that right?

        Step back for a moment… it’s a disease that can cause a horrible death from drowning, for days, and you die alone because your family can’t be with your at the end… and you’re suffering horribly because you can’t put a piece of cloth on your face?

        I remember the good ‘ol days when it was the Libs, etc., who were snowflakes.

        1. 4B, I’m pretty well in agreement with Sicka, but I’ll respond since you seem to be genuinely trying to engage honestly.

          I’m of the position that a cloth mask isn’t an onerous restriction, but I still bristle when the government mandates it considering the sparse evidence for its effectiveness.

          I think the key is where my rights end and your rights begin. We can disagree about how far my right to play loud music extends when it becomes annoying to my neighbor. Many libertarians would call me an a** for doing it, but wouldn’t want police enforcing strict decibel limits.

          Another thing is that you implicitly accept the risks whenever you leave your home, whether you’re taking a walk, eating at a restaurant, or buying groceries. To place the onus of your safety on me is an inversion that I find troublesome.
          Using the dog example, It’s not my responsibility to avoid walking my dog past your house simply because you have allergies. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself in public spaces.

  28. The 1945 state law has no authority to suspend the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

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  30. Whitmer wants us to follow her dictates, which are not legal laws, and yet she completely ignores the courts, which are supporting the rule of law. Why even have a constitution or laws? The politicians and sometimes the courts just do what they want as they twist the language to suit their needs…full blown tyranny and slavery. 100 years from now, our ancestors will be wanting reparations for the damage done by the totally fake pandemic where millions are dying and everyone’s moving to the moon.

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