Throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there have been arguments as to what the government can and cannot legally require of its citizens. Some believe that our elected officials should issue guidelines but not mandates, suggestions and not ordinances. This is an American-styled argument, of course, with out nation possessing a long history of anti-government sentiment.
Despite these arguments, a number of locales have moved forward with attempts to restrict the activities of the people, hoping to force their citizens to abide by their best intentions, not by coercing them to do so.
In Pennsylvania, these sorts of virus-battling mandates have now been declared unconstitutional.
A federal judge on Monday struck down Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down, calling them unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders who sued as individuals.
Stickman, an appointee of President Donald Trump, wrote in his ruling that the Wolf administration’s pandemic policies have been overreaching, arbitrary and violated citizens’ constitutional rights.
The governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” Stickman wrote. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”
The issue here is one of constitution, not conscience, and it is still quite advisable to practice social distancing and mask-wearing, especially as Americans hope to be able to gather safely for the coming holidays.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.