A surprising ruling from US District Court finds Governor Tom Wolf’s decree that forced people to stay at home, limited the size of social gatherings and ordered all “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down to be in breach of the constitution.
In a rare win for the freedom in the days of “the new normal” Judge William Stickman IV sided with the plaintiffs – a collection of small business owners – against the state. And found the measures to be “overreaching and arbitrary and violated citizens’ constitutional rights”.
The state will appeal, of course, but the hope is that this ruling can set a precedent which will limit governmental over-reach and the surge of draconian powers being implemented to (allegedly) “combat the pandemic”.
Certainly, amid the wave of ominous utilitarian preaching in both the corporate and social media, Sticman’s ruling makes for refreshing reading. You can view the whole thing here, but this I will leave you with the best quote, taken from the conclusion:
Even in an emergency, the authority of the 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.
There is no question that this Country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But 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.