This Monday, Federal Judge William Stickman IV ruled to overturn Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s emergency use of power nearly six months after the Governor invoked police powers to impose a strict lockdown as his strategy to combat Covid-19. Wolf claimed that it was an unnecessary ruling as he has begun to ease his restrictions, but Federal Judge Stickman maintained that Wolf continues to assert that he can reinstate restrictions, as other governors have done amid virus flare-ups. Regardless of the ease on restrictions right now, Pennsylvanians and Americans around the country still live under the unilateral sword of their dictatorial Democratic leaders.
“Mr. Wolf claims his police powers are entitled to extraordinary judicial deference under the Supreme Court’s Jacobson (1905) precedent, which upheld Massachusetts’s smallpox vaccine mandate.
But as Judge Stickman wrote, “Jacobson was decided over a century ago. Since that time, there has been substantial development of federal constitutional law in the area of civil liberties. As a general matter, this development has seen a jurisprudential shift whereby federal courts have given greater deference to considerations of individual liberties, as weighed against the exercise of state police powers.”
The judge cited Justice Samuel Alito’s dissentthis year from the Supreme Court’s Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak denial of injunctive relief: “It is a considerable stretch to read the [Jacobson] decision as establishing the test to be applied when statewide measures of indefinite duration are challenged under the First Amendment or other provisions not at issue in that case.”
During the 1918 Spanish flu, Judge Stickman wrote, nothing “remotely approximating lockdowns were imposed.” In Pennsylvania, movie theaters, saloons and dancing halls were closed but these restrictions were lifted within 35 days. Most cities in America at that time lifted their restrictions after about 50 days.
Most legal challenges to emergency orders this year have involved religious freedom, but Judge Stickman wrote that other individual liberties are equally important. By closing “non-life-sustaining businesses,” his ruling says, the state was “determining who could work and who could not, who could earn a paycheck and who would be unemployed—and for some—which businesses would live, and which would die.”
Mr. Wolf’s administration never bothered to define “life-sustaining,” and it turned out to mean whatever his government says it means. Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot remained open while a plaintiff’s furniture store had to close. The judge says these arbitrary distinctions violate due process and equal protection.
Ditto for Mr. Wolf’s restrictions on public gatherings this summer to 25 people indoors and 250 outdoors. Yet as many as 20,000 attendees were allowed to attend an auto show and flea market outdoors. Mr. Wolf even participated in a Black Lives Matter protest that violated the letter of his own emergency order. By contrast, the plaintiffs weren’t allowed to hold campaign events exceeding the order’s limits, which Judge Stickman says violates their right to assemble.”
Lawmakers around the country have gotten far too used to what amounts to absolute power. States around the country continue to impose heavy-handed regulations that restrict restaurants, retail, and places of business from opening. There has been a 23 percent increase in businesses that have closed since mid-July, and permanent closures have reached 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening.
“Los Angeles and New York report the highest number of closures: Los Angeles has seen 15,000 closures, half of which are permanent, and New York has seen over 11,000 closures, with the high rate of 63% reported as permanent.”
President Trump has worked diligently to expedite a vaccine, enact the Defense Production Act to ensure that Americans, frontline workers, and hospitals have the PPE that they need, his administration has worked to find therapeutics to treat the coronavirus, and most importantly, President Trump took early steps to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
The Administration has worked with private sector partners to secure the delivery of 99 million N95 respirators, 15 million face shields, 83 million gloves, and more. President Trump has taken around 80 DPA and DPA-related actions to ensure we have the supplies we need and thanks to President Trump’s efforts, no American who has needed a ventilator has gone without one.
President Trump bolstered our strategic national stockpile to ensure we are prepared for any event that may come in the future after the Obama administration left it severely depleted.
President Trump has built the world’s leading coronavirus testing system from scratch, with more than 88 million tests completed so far. Daily testing has increased by 32,000 percent since mid-March and 94 percent of patients are receiving their test results back within just 3 days.
In order to ensure all Americans have access to testing resources, 94 percent of Federally Qualified Health Centers now offer testing; and to protect our seniors, more than 10,000 testing instruments and nearly 3 million tests have been shipped to nursing homes across the country.
Despite what you hear from the fake news media, coronavirus deaths are down in our country and the pandemic is under control. America continues to see strong progress in the fight against coronavirus – with the 7-day average in new cases down 37% since its peak in July and nearly half of all jurisdictions are now in a downward trajectory in cases.
Meanwhile, Democrats refuse to open up their states and cities, threatening the livelihoods of small businesses and American workers everywhere and they continue to block the stimulus that their constituents so desperately need as a result of Democrats own heavy-handed restrictions. It’s time for Democrats everywhere to follow Judge Stickman’s lead—quit violating the freedoms of hardworking Americans everywhere and re-open.