AG Hill: Court Ruling Should Remind State Leaders That COVID-19 Restrictions Must Follow Constitution

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 9:46 AM

By Office of Attorney General Curtis Hill, news release

Since the spring, AG Curtis Hill has expressed that leaders should stay within constitutional boundaries when issuing executive orders.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Attorney General Curtis Hill said today that leaders in all states should take notice of a federal court decision that declares unconstitutional certain COVID-19 orders issued by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

“Since the spring,” Attorney General Hill said, “I have expressed my strong belief that leaders at all levels of government must be careful to follow proper processes and stay within constitutional boundaries when devising measures intended to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. This federal ruling announced Monday only strengthens my conviction in this regard.”

In his opinion, U.S. District Court Judge William Stickman IV found unconstitutional aspects of Pennsylvania executive orders that limited sizes of gatherings, implemented stay-at-home orders and imposed mandatory business closures.

“This ruling reminds us that general societal shutdowns, even in the face of pandemics, can be hard to square with an open society premised on liberty and constitutional rights,” Attorney General Hill said. “Governments must be vigilant in ensuring that emergency orders restricting fundamental individual liberties are based on science or other sound evidence. Such orders also should have defined expirations after short durations and draw thoughtful distinctions among regulated activities.”

Attached is the ruling in Butler v. Wolf.

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