Federal Judge: Pennsylvania’s Stay-at-Home Order Is an Assault on Human Rights
A federal judge on Monday ruled the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Covid-19 stay-at-home orders and forced business closures were unconstitutional.
US District Judge William Stickman IV of the US Distriuct Couty for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled Wolf’s orders violated the constitution in three ways. They violated the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly, and they violated both the due process and equal protections clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
As a staunch decentralist, I don’t support the notion that federal courts have the authority to strike down state laws. Federal courts should rule only on federal laws, and federal laws ought to be few and far between. State laws are the business of the state’s supreme court. And if that court fails to rule against the despotic decrees of government agents, it is up to the citizens of that state to refuse compliance and make life very difficult and uncomfortable for the state’s politicians until they change their minds.
Moreover, I have no confidence that the US Supreme Court will side with Stickman if this case makes it to the Supreme Court. After all, Justice Roberts has already signaled that he is quite comfortable with states violating basic human rights so long as it is done for the sake of “public safety.”
But whatever is the ultimate fate of this ruling, there’s no denying that Stickman’s ruling offers a quite compelling and thorough takedown of the ruinous, cynical, and morally repugnant set of “laws” that are the state’s Covid-19 restrictions.
Stickman starts off introducing his ruling with some basic and solid conclusions about rights in general. He writes:
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.
It’s hard to dispute this, based not just on the current situation, but on countless other “crises” that have come and gone while the regime’s powers and prerogatives have proliferated.
Stickman then summarizes how the Pennsylvania decrees and orders came about. The “process” employed by Governor Wolf and his buddies is surprisingly corrupt and contemptuous of the public, even to an old cynic like me.
As Stickman notes, the “committee” which Wolf slapped together to write all his new executive orders, was essentially secret. The members were not made public, the meetings were secret and closed to the public, and no minutes were kept. Stickman also points out that no members of the group “possess a medical background or are experts in infection control.”
Stickman also has a problem with the permanence of the decrees and orders. The Governor and his ruling junta insist that their decrees are permanent, and even as stay-at-home orders are scaled back, these restrictions are only “suspended.” T
Article from Mises Wire