A New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruling that had found the state’s quarantine order unconstitutional has been reversed.
The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled that the state’s Commissioner of Health is allowed to issue quarantine orders to control the disease.
According to Rule 2.13 of the February 2022 order, “whenever appropriate to control the spread of a highly contagious communicable disease, the State Commissioner of Health may issue and/or may direct the local health authority to issue isolation and/or quarantine orders, consistent with due process of law, to all such persons as the State Commissioner of Health shall determine appropriate.”
According to the state order, isolation settings may include one’s own house, a general hospital, or “other residential or temporary housing,” depending on what the health body issuing the order deems “appropriate.” The regulation also permits the health agency to “whenever appropriate, coordinate with local law enforcement to ensure that such person comply with the order.”
“Rule 2.13 is a red flag that underscores the lingering authoritarian approach to governing, which is a holdover from the pandemic,” George Borrello, a plaintiff and New York state senator, said in a statement.
This ruling follows the filing of a lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Health for Covid-19 quarantine restrictions the plaintiffs argued violated their constitutional rights and the separation of powers.
Attorney Bobby Ann Cox of the Brownstone Institute laid out the fundamental issues with the draconian New York state law in stark fashion.
🚨 NEW — NY Appeals Court Reinstates Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Power to Enforce Quarantine Camps
“It allows the Dept. of Health to pick and choose which New Yorkers they can lockup or lockdown without any proof that you’re sick, without any proof you’ve been exposed to a communicable… pic.twitter.com/2jukPhBiRn
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) November 22, 2023
“It allows the Dept. of Health to pick and choose which New Yorkers they can lockup or lockdown without any proof that you’re sick, without any proof you’ve been exposed to a communicable disease,” she said. “There’s no time limit so they could lock you up or lock you down for days or weeks or months. There’s no location restriction. They can put you in any facility they want… And then once you are locked up or locked down, there’s no procedure in this regulation that says how you get out of quarantine once you’re in there.”
Harmeet Dhillon, a constitutional rights attorney, lambasted the court decision.
This is actually what courts ruled throughout America in over a dozen cases I litigated in early to mid COVID. We won three religious liberties cases at SCOTUS through @Liberty_Ctr & we helped @realDailyWire defeat a corporate vaccine mandate, but courts approved fascism daily… https://t.co/USF5nElep0
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) November 22, 2023
“This is actually what courts ruled throughout America in over a dozen cases I litigated in early to mid COVID. We won three religious liberties cases at SCOTUS through @Liberty_Ctr & we helped @realDailyWire defeat a corporate vaccine mandate, but courts approved fascism daily other than these victories,” she wrote. “They used their power to close the schools, the stores, the hair salons, the beaches. They stopped us from seeing our elders as they were locked up in death traps. They stopped loving parents from visiting their lonely adult disabled children. We could not marry with family witnesses. Large families were barred from praying together. Dreams and lives were crushed by the heavy fist of the state. A generation of children will suffer as human sacrifices to the will of scared, old judges and callous, wicked leaders.”
“Time for SCOTUS to step up and overturn Jacobson v Massachusetts, an outdated decision that enables the violation of our fundamental human and civil rights nationally as happened in COVID and will surely happen again the next time malevolent actors want to manipulate a credulous and enervated populace,” she added. “We must NEVER let this happen again and this authoritarian decree needs to be reversed at the polls in every state and territory in the nation.”
The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights states the following about quarantines or “lockdowns”:
These quarantine measures on their face, restricting the movement of free people, are a violation of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[xii] The Declaration was adopted in 1948 in “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal inalienable rights of all members of the human family.”[xiii] Some of the listed enumerated rights that are violated by quarantine orders are, the right to: liberty,[xiv] freedom of movement,[xv] freedom of religion in community with others,[xvi] freedom of peaceful assembly and association,[xvii] work and protection against unemployment,[xviii] education,[xix] and freely participate in community.[xx] However, while quarantines may violate these rights the U.N. has said that in response to serious public health threats to the “life of a nation,” human rights law allows for restrictions on some rights. Those restrictions, however, must be justified on a legal basis as strictly necessary.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have concluded that lockdowns did little to reduce COVID deaths but had “devastating effects” on economies and caused social upheaval.
The study, titled “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” said lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. reduced COVID-19 deaths by just 0.2 percent.
Shelter-in-place orders were also ineffective, reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.9%, the study said.
“We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality,” the researchers wrote in the report.
The study concluded that lockdowns “are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”
“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy,” the report said.
Furthermore, nearly everyone in the United States was exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by the end of 2022, according to infection-induced seroprevalence data — despite vaccination, masks, or lockdowns. Thus, the characterization of lockdowns as “strictly necessary” is extremely problematic, if not fallacious.
The plaintiffs had initially won their case against the Hochul administration, but NYS Attorney General Letitia James filed an appeal to overturn the ruling.
But the court ruled that the plaintiffs “lacked standing” in their case.
Plaintiffs, including Senator George Borello, issued a statement in which he revealed that he and the other plaintiffs in the action intend to appeal the verdict.
“We are deeply disappointed in the Appellate Division’s ruling in favor of the Hochul administration in the case of Borrello, Lawler, Tague, Uniting NYS v. Hochul. The court did not address the merits of the case which were outlined by Judge Ploetz in his original decision. Instead, they shamefully reversed and dismissed the case on a technicality, claiming that we, the petitioners, somehow lacked standing to bring the case in the first place.
We strongly disagree with their ruling and are concerned about the widespread implications of this erroneous decision. They have not only paved the way for Hochul and her Department of Health to re-issue this heinous Rule, but they have set a precedent to preclude citizens from rightfully challenging government overreach in court, and they’ve effectively unconstitutionally empowered the Executive Branch to overreach into policymaking, which is a decision that could open the door to further abuses of power.
In light of Governor Hochul’s other overreaches into the daily lives of New Yorkers, including her effort to ban gas stoves, her ‘housing’ plan that would eliminate local zoning, and her excessive mask mandates on children, to name a few, our concerns are well-warranted.
This has been a ‘David v. Goliath’ fight from the beginning on many levels, so it is not surprising that the state, with its limitless resources, has effectuated a win this round. We will never stop fighting for New Yorkers against government overreach. And so, we will be appealing this calamitous decision to the Court of Appeals, our state’s highest court, which is a court of constitutional integrity, and we are confident justice for New Yorkers.”
Attorney Bobbie Anne Cox had filed the lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York Department of Health in 2022. She also issued a statement lambasting the court ruling.
“What the Appellate Division court is saying by reversing the lower court and then dismissing our case for lack of standing is that they believe that Senator George Borrello, Assemblyman Chris Tague, Congressman Mike Lawler, and the citizens’ group Uniting NYS did not have the right to bring this lawsuit last year against the Governor and her DOH for their heinous “Isolation and Quarantine Procedures” regulation.
Why not? Because according to this court, my plaintiffs were not injured by the regulation. Why not? Because the court seems to insinuate that the only person with the right to sue is someone who has been forcibly locked in their home against their will, or ripped from their home, taken from their loved ones, and thrown into a quarantine detention center, facility, institution, camp, etc. (pick your noun, doesn’t matter).
The court insinuates that apparently only that person would be injured. Not my plaintiffs. The reason their “logic” is flawed is because we sued pursuant to the separation of powers doctrine, arguing that the Governor and her DOH lacked the constitutional authority to make that horrendous regulation in the first place.
In other words, in short, my legislator-plaintiffs were injured because Hochul and her DOH (Executive Branch) stole the legislators’ power to make law (Legislative Branch) when they created the quarantine reg which was a law (despite the fact that the DOH called it a regulation). The trial court correctly ruled in our favor last summer, and struck the reg down for that exact reason, amongst others.”
Covid lockdowns were the greatest affront to constitutional rights in the United States since the Japanese internment camps during World War II. The Supreme Court should bury this law in the history books and issue the admonition “never again.”