|Some Americans are saying that these powers are unconstitutional
and taking legal action – and some are winning.
• May 2020, the Wisconsin state legislature challenged the executive branch order from the WI Dept. of Health Services, that ordered all people within Wisconsin to remain in their homes, not to travel, and to close all businesses that were not “essential”. The legislature prevailed. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the executive Order, order no. 28, stating:
As the United States Department of Justice has recently written in a COVID-19-related case raising constitutional issues, “There is no pandemic exception . . . to the fundamental liberties the Constitution safeguards. Indeed, ‘individual rights secured by the Constitution do not disappear during a public health crisis.’ These individual rights, including the protections in the Bill of Rights made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, are always in force and restrain government action.” Statement of Interest, Temple Baptist Church v. City of Greenville, No. 4:20-cv-64-DMB-JMV (N.D. Miss., April 14, 2020), ECF No. 6 (quoting In re Abbott, 954 F.3d 772 (5th Cir. 2020)).
• June 30, 2020, Florida citizens filed a legal challenge against Palm Beach County opposing its mask mandate. The case was heard on July 21, 2020, and parties are awaiting judicial review. The case cited Florida’s Constitution that: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from government intrusion in to the person’s private life”. Art. I, § 23, Fla. Const.
And cited case law stating that:
Florida’s Right of Privacy also includes the right to liberty. State v. J.P., 907 So. 2d 1101, 1115 (Fla. 2004) (holding that the Florida constitutional right to privacy includes the right to liberty and self-determination). An integral component of self-determination is the right to make choices pertaining to one’s health and to determine what shall be done with one’s own body. In re Guardianship of Browning, 568 So. 2d 4, 9-12 (Fla. 1990) (“Recognizing that one has the inherent right to make choices about medical treatment, we necessarily conclude that this right encompasses all medical choices.”).
• July 16, 2020, Governor Kemp of Georgia sued the Mayor of Atlanta, Mayor Bottoms, after Mayor Bottoms issued a mandatory face mask order for the city that was more restrictive than Governor Kemp’s order; the Kemp order encouraged, rather than mandated, the wearing of face masks. Hearings will be held in the future.