It’s good news for freedom!
We have seen the government take unprecedented steps to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus since it was first detected in the U.S. in late January.
We have seen, however, that some leaders have unleashed their inner dictator and are just fine with tossing aside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the name of public health.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor, Tom Wolf’s COVID restrictions were rather heavy-handed–he called for the closure of all “non-life-sustaining” businesses. He also restricted gatherings to 25 people indoors and 250 people for outdoors.
Business owners and a group of Republicans in Pennsylvania sued Governor Wolf for violating their Constitutional rights. The plaintiffs argued that the governor’s restrictions on gatherings violated the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and assembly, and the shelter-in-place order and closure of businesses were a violation of the rights to substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Wolf’s restrictions covered limits on crowd sizes, requirements that people stay home, and the closing of non-essential businesses, and were challenged by business owners and Republican politicians.
Ruling on the lawsuit, US District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee, said while the restrictions were executed with good intentions, they were arbitrary and violated individual rights…
…While some of the limits have been lifted since the lawsuit was filed in May, the Democratic governor has maintained some restrictions on gatherings and on bars and restaurants.
Gov. Wolf’s office said it is disappointed with the ruling, and will request a stay of the decision so it can file an appeal.
Source: Daily Mail
In the decision, U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV wrote that although restrictions were made with the best of intentions to protect public health, “good intentions toward a laudable end are not alone enough to uphold governmental action against a constitutional challenge. Indeed, the greatest threats to our system of constitutional liberties may arise when the ends are laudable and the intent is good—especially in time of emergency.”
He continued, “In an emergency, even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup and that restrictions–while expedient in the face of an emergency situation–may persist long after immediate danger has passed.”
Judge Stickman stated, “even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered. The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms–in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble.” He noted that although a pandemic is a significant challenge that the country faces, “the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment.”
“The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures. Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency. Actions taken by Defendants crossed those lines. It is the duty of the Court to declare those actions unconstitutional. Thus, consistent with the reasons set forth above, the Court will enter judgment in favor of Plaintiffs,” he concluded.
That is such a beautiful decision it makes me want to shout, “God bless America!”
These lockdowns have been disastrous for multiple reasons, and it’s nice to see that one Governor has had his knuckles rapped for violating the Constitutionally-protected rights of Americans.