Are Coronavirus Lockdowns Unconstitutional?

published on July 2, 2020

how long the coronavirus lockdown last

that depends on who has final authority

governors and the courts fight over the

Constitution

[Music]

welcome back to America uncovered I'm

Chris Chappell

our coronavirus lockdowns constitutional

that's what courts across the country

are beginning to debate most governors

have put their states on lockdown

banning non-essential businesses and

generally encouraging everyone to stay

indoors this has also led to protests a

lot of people are concerned about the

long-term economic impact of keeping the

economy closed particularly on small

businesses in London one group even used

hugs as a form of protest which from a

certain point of view is biological

warfare no stop hugging seniors hugs are

murder of course staying six feet away

from people is just one of the many

consequences of the coronavirus lockdown

but a lot of folks are beginning to

wonder how long can the government keep

people locked down and as I said that

question is now being taken to court in

Oregon a County judge has declared

Oregon governor Kate brown coronavirus

restrictions null and void because she

didn't have her emergency orders

approved by the legislature that was the

ruling of Baker County Circuit Judge

Matthew shirtcliff it was in response to

a lawsuit by ten churches across Oregon

that said the state's social distancing

rules were unconstitutional the lawsuit

alleged and the judge agreed that the

social distancing rules were part of a

public health statute and public health

statutes come with a 28 day time limit

the judge ruled that Governor Brown

could not extend emergency powers beyond

that 28 day time limit without approval

from the state legislature which he

never got now those are just the laws

for Oregon laws in other states like

California or New York for instance give

their governors more power in public

health emergencies in a seven-page

opinion judge shirtcliff wrote that the

damage to Oregonians and their

livelihood was greater than the dangers

presented by the corona virus he also

noted that

businesses deemed essential such as

grocery stores had been allowed to

remain open even with large numbers of

people present and have relied on masks

social distancing and other measures to

protect the public

Governor Brown immediately appealed the

decision to the state Supreme Court the

Supreme Court said to keep the lockdown

in place while they reach a decision

this kind of legal battle over lock

downs is happening all across the

country last week the Wisconsin State

Supreme Court blocked governor Tony

Evers stay-at-home extension essentially

reopening the state though local

authorities can still impose their own

health restrictions and like in the case

of Oregon

the Wisconsin ruling said that Governor

Evers needed to get the state's

Legislature's approval to extend the

lock down the stay at home order from

Governor Evers was also really strict

violators could face 30 days

imprisonment the Wisconsin Supreme

Court's decision was closed though a

four to three ruling and the

conservative Court ruled against the

Democratic governor in fact in early

April the same conservative Court

allowed voting to continue despite the

coronavirus this was following a

partisan dispute between Republicans who

wanted to hold the vote and Democrats

who wanted to postpone the vote or

extend absentee balloting but it's not

just disputes over whether these

emergency orders are violating state

laws court cases are happening in

different states over whether these lock

downs are unconstitutional in North

Carolina a federal judge ruled the

governor's coronavirus restrictions

violated religious expression by

preventing religious groups from holding

indoor service in Kentucky a federal

judge did the same however

in Louisiana a federal judge ruled

against a local pastor who sued the

state governor the Louisiana pastor Tony

spell was put under house arrest for

continuing to hold church services and

authorities put an ankle monitor on him

pastor spell also claimed that his phone

was tapped and a camera illegally

installed at his home

and that he was followed and these cases

aren't just about religious services

federal judges in Texas Ohio and Alabama

ruled abortion clinics were exempted

from coronavirus lock downs that's after

those states temporarily stopped

abortions as part of restricting

non-essential medical procedures

a week later an appeals court upheld

those abortion restrictions in Texas but

a few weeks later that issue ended after

Texas allowed abortions to resume

judicial rulings on coronavirus lockdown

orders are going to become more frequent

at the end of April Attorney General

William bar ordered federal prosecutors

across the us to identify coronavirus

related restrictions from state and

local governments that could be

violating the constitutional rights and

civil liberties of individual citizens

it's hard to say what will happen

because the US hasn't faced a pandemic

like this in more than a hundred years

so there aren't a lot of recent court

cases on whether states can restrict

civil liberties for public health

reasons or whether that's

unconstitutional in fact these

coronavirus related court cases could

end up setting judicial precedents for

years to come so what do you think leave

your comments below and remember America

uncovered is funded primarily through

support from viewers like you on the

crowdfunding website patreon visit

patreoncom slash America uncovered to

find out how you can help once again I'm

Chris Chappell

thanks for watching America uncovered

[Music]

you

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