Last modified on 15 April 2020, at 04:35

Coronavirus civil rights

The COVID-19 Coronavirus has implicated civil rights with respect to several issues, including the constitutional rights to assembly and travel.

The CDC has attempted to prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people, which implicates the First Amendment right to peacefully assemble (including religious services, the impediment of which also constitutes a violation of freedom of religion).

Curfews, beginning as early as 8 p.m. in New Jersey, implicate that same right and also the right to travel.

Mandatory quarantines implicate multiple First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Kentucky

"I can't allow one person who we know has this virus to refuse to protect their neighbors," declared the Kentucky Democrat Governor Andy Beshear in insisting on forcibly quarantining a resident. But the man, through his wife, said he never tested positive for coronavirus.[1]

Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer tried to ban drive-in church services on Easter. On Holy Thursday, one day before Christians were to begin their most important religious celebrations of the year, Fischer declared that drive-in Easter services would be illegal. The mayor threatened arrest and criminal penalties for anyone who dared violate his order, and invited people to snitch on their fellow citizens.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the city of Louisville the day before Easter writing, “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

Michigan

In Michigan, Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared what items are and are not “essential,” dictating to grocery stores what they can and cannot sell. Among nonessential and banned, items are fruit and vegetable seeds. Self-sufficiency and growing fruits and vegetables at home while on lockdown would maintain social distancing by avoiding grocery stores during the pandemic. Lottery tickets and revenue to the state from gambling however, is still permitted. Michiganders are banned from traveling “between residences” if they own a cottage or a summer home, but the ban only applies to Michigan residents, so an out-of-stater with a cottage in the Upper Peninsula could presumably still visit. The ban also still allows travel between states, so if a Michigander has a cottage in Wisconsin or Ohio, he can travel without fear of being arrested or fined by state police.[2]

California

Governor Gavin Newsom and the government of California outlined six conditions and requirements that must be met before the government will lift the stay-at-home restriction and/or modify the California economic closure. Until the state government identifies and agrees that these six specific state designated terms and conditions are met, all Californians are to remain under home detention; and all civil rights are suspended by order of the state.

Additionally, the state will only consider a limited amount of loosened the restrictions; and permit a modified amount of liberty; if, and only if, the state is assured to be able to immediately institute the rules of the original citizen confinement. The State of California is accomplishing this without even attempting to create a single law; or have a single representative vote. This was all carried out by decree.[3]

2nd Amendment

After many states and localities issued closure orders of gun stores, the Trump administration Department of Homeland Security listed gun and ammunition dealers as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”[4]

References