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Old 03-17-2020, 06:17 PM
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Constitutionality of bans of > 10 person gatherings


This is not to debate the merits of said bans, or the ability to enforce them. I am just wondering if Governors can legally ban gatherings of 10 or more people.

I believe there is a health and safety exception of the First Amendment, but how low does it go? I guess it might also depend on if the folks are gathering to protest.

Mods: please move if you think it is wise.

Brian
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Old 03-17-2020, 06:31 PM
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I was wondering that myself. Also, banning bars and restaurants from serving patrons in-house seems like governmental overreach, even if it is a good idea.
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Old 03-17-2020, 06:52 PM
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Some quick poking around online suggests that declaring a state of emergency is what allows them to set restrictions like this.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:45 PM
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In Colorado, they are doing it through the department of health not even through the Governor's office. I can't find the clip from the news tonight where they walked through how it was legal.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:49 PM
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A couple days ago I posted a cite (sorry, can't find now) of an Illinois city's State of Emergency declaration that authorized closings, quarantines, and real property forfeiture. That's a matter of state constitutions, not federal.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:54 PM
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A couple days ago I posted a cite (sorry, can't find now) of an Illinois city's State of Emergency declaration that authorized closings, quarantines, and real property forfeiture. That's a matter of state constitutions, not federal.
But the Federal Constitution over rules any state law.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:22 AM
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But the Federal Constitution over rules any state law.
In theory, according to the ninth and tenth amendments, Federal law only overrules state law in those areas that the Constitution specifically grants power to the Feds. In reality, however, you are unfortunately correct.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:19 AM
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In Colorado, they are doing it through the department of health not even through the Governor's office. I can't find the clip from the news tonight where they walked through how it was legal.
That's what I'm thinking is going to happen. The health department is going to be able to write them up and can pull their license. Remember, the health dept can close you down for certain violations, the building department can close you down for certain violations, fire, electrical and water inspections can cause problems. There's no real reason why they common council can't pass a temporary law that allows the health department to shut you down for this.
People are crying about this violating their right to assemble, but no one says that when the fire dept or building inspector sets a limit on how many people are allowed inside. I get that people don't feel like this is quite as big of a deal of a floor collapsing or not being able to get out quickly enough during a fire, but it's still a big deal. Also, it's temporary and the sooner people quit pushing back, the faster it'll be over with.


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But the Federal Constitution over rules any state law.
Assuming what's being done is unconstitutional, can a governor suspend federal protected constitutional rights by declaring a state of emergency in their state?
From what I've seen, the president declaring a SoE, allows them to suspend certain constitutional rights, but I'm not clear on if a governor (or even a mayor) doing the same suspends only state rights or if it covers federal rights as well.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:35 AM
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All ten of the Ten Amendments are routinely violated, with the courts ruling that compelling circumstances justify the infringement.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:54 AM
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All ten of the ten amendments? You're sure about that?
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:19 AM
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All ten of the ten amendments? You're sure about that?
So help me, I'll be deep in the cold cold ground before they quarter soldiers in my house!
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:12 AM
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There is a long standing legal precedent that Constitutionally-recognized freedoms may be restricted in limited ways in the interest of public safety provided the restrictions are limited in scope, specific to the nature of the threat or hazard, and not applied arbitrarily or with obvious political bias (e.g. applying to a specific minority group or demographic). This includes freedom of press and expression (gag orders, restrictions on volatile speech or written word by individuals), right to bear arms (restrictions on type of weapons or accessories deemed to be a particular hazard, requirements for waiting periods and background checks), protections against search & seizure or quartering of soldiers in private homes (eminent domain, asset forefeiture,...I can't come up with a modern example of quartering but it's probably happened at some point), and right of assembly (proscribed 'protest zones', dispersing crowds with the potential to riot), freedom of movement (travel restrictions or evacuation orders in response to a natural disaster or attack). Of course, as virtually any minority person or anyone subject to unjustified asset forfeiture can tell you, the protection afforded by the Constitutional rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights is dependent upon the willingness of law enforcement and the court system to enforce those protections, the variance of which is all too common.

In this case there is a specific public health reason to limit the size of gatherings and prohibit mass gatherings, and I strongly suspect that courts will find against any legal challenge based upon the recognized threat that unconfined mass spread of a likely airborne pathogen poses to public safety.

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Old 03-19-2020, 08:31 PM
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In this case there is a specific public health reason to limit the size of gatherings and prohibit mass gatherings, and I strongly suspect that courts will find against any legal challenge based upon the recognized threat that unconfined mass spread of a likely airborne pathogen poses to public safety.
Sure, that’s happened already, but I think the OP set the bar as low as *ten* for a reason. I think they were asking how low the limits could go before it started being unreasonable. Or is there no limit to the limits?
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:41 PM
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I’m just going to keep saying this.

Everyone shut up and listen to Stranger.
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Old 03-21-2020, 05:38 PM
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There is a long standing legal precedent that Constitutionally-recognized freedoms may be restricted in limited ways in the interest of public safety provided the restrictions are limited in scope, specific to the nature of the threat or hazard, and not applied arbitrarily or with obvious political bias (e.g. applying to a specific minority group or demographic). This includes freedom of press and expression (gag orders, restrictions on volatile speech or written word by individuals), right to bear arms (restrictions on type of weapons or accessories deemed to be a particular hazard, requirements for waiting periods and background checks), protections against search & seizure or quartering of soldiers in private homes (eminent domain, asset forefeiture,...I can't come up with a modern example of quartering but it's probably happened at some point), and right of assembly (proscribed 'protest zones', dispersing crowds with the potential to riot), freedom of movement (travel restrictions or evacuation orders in response to a natural disaster or attack). Of course, as virtually any minority person or anyone subject to unjustified asset forfeiture can tell you, the protection afforded by the Constitutional rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights is dependent upon the willingness of law enforcement and the court system to enforce those protections, the variance of which is all too common.

In this case there is a specific public health reason to limit the size of gatherings and prohibit mass gatherings, and I strongly suspect that courts will find against any legal challenge based upon the recognized threat that unconfined mass spread of a likely airborne pathogen poses to public safety.

Stranger
I agree with your legal assessment. However, from my study quarantines have been related to specific individuals or groups of individuals who you have a fear may be infected and spread disease.

Typhoid Mary could be imprisoned even though she did nothing wrong. This ship where there was a smallpox outbreak can be refused disembarking.

However, I see nothing in history, or in the spirit of any quarantine law where you can pass something like the "shelter in place" in NY, NJ, IL, CA and coming to a state near you. That is in effect that everyone is quarantined, even if proven not to be sick, so we can stop you from catching it and then next passing it on.

That seems unprecedented to me.
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:43 PM
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So help me, I'll be deep in the cold cold ground before they quarter soldiers in my house!
I quartered troops in my house. They rented the rooms downstairs. Kept quiet, too.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:47 AM
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Just chiming in to say, it's so nice to see you posting again, Stranger. Your voice has been missed.
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:23 PM
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:04 PM
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Probably not constitutional. But, four lawyers and the entire Supreme Court can't meet to overturn it.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:42 PM
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https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...irus-measures/

Don't think they go far (Judge already denied immediate injunction)

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Old 03-20-2020, 02:47 PM
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Given that the bar on what constitutes an arrestable crime has been raised:

"I'm in for murder. What you in for?"
"Played a game of pick-up soccer"
"That's tough....well they're letting me out on my own recognizance. Good luck"
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:35 PM
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State senator(or rep) in an interview was complaining about the 10 person limit (in Wisconsin). Something like "what about big churches where folks could sit 8 feet apart"
(I didn't listen to the whole thing, just caught part of it)

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Old 03-20-2020, 06:26 PM
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I'm willing to quarter troops in my house, provided that I also get to hang and draw them.
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:14 AM
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A New Hampshire court has ruled that the governor can ban meetings up to 50 people. No written opinion yet, and no appeal yet, so YMMV, but it's one of the first rulings I found.

Cite.
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:44 AM
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I work with (not for but with) a lot of clubs, hotels and restaurants and as I was reviewing the coming weeks, I did ask about this, everyone of them told me point, the city said they would pull their food, hotel or liquor license and the results the same.

And since you can pull it for no reason while you're investigating, again the result is the same.

I do suspect the longer this goes on the more and more we'll see lawsuits brought forth especially when the businesses lose money.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:03 PM
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It's not a quarantine. People are allowed to go out to obtain food, medicine and other necessities. They're even allowed get some exercise.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:38 PM
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It's not a quarantine. People are allowed to go out to obtain food, medicine and other necessities. They're even allowed get some exercise.
Exactly. Quarantine and isolation are covered by specific laws (see the CDC webpage on Legal Authority for Isolation and Quarantine. Within states, there is considerable authority of the governor to place restrictions upon movement and travel after a state of emergency is declared. In addition, as Carryon notes, state and municipal governments can pull licenses, effectively shuttering those businesses and reducing the impetus for people to go out.

Of course, anybody can bring suit over almost anything given they can show some kind of cause, and it is possible that a court may side plaintiff, but as previously noted, there is a long-standing precedent that direct threats to public safety may justify restrictions on normally protected rights or freedoms provided the restrictions are limited in scope, applicable to the specific hazard, and not applied arbitrarily. Restriction upon travel and nighttime curfews are routinely applied during natural disasters to enable responders to travel unimpeded and prevent looting. And frankly, all of the restrictions that California and New York have applied so far are essentially voluntary in nature; no one has been arrested and there are no applied penalties to individuals.

There are certainly times in which these kinds of restrictions should be challenged, such as when non-violent political expression is restricted to a “freedom zone” several blocks away from the event it is protesting, but restriction of movement and assembly during a viral epidemic is really not one of them. When we start having thousands of people dying because the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread so rapidly through the population, the questions are going to be why the federal and state governments didn’t act more quickly and effectively to stop the spread, and there are many legitimate questions to be asked in that vein.

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Old 03-21-2020, 06:44 PM
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A local low-life bar stayed open. Sheriffs came to close them down and execute the state order to pull their liquor license. I doubt the barkeep will get unemployment checks. And now the scum will have to loiter elsewhere. Hey, bears are emerging from hibernation and likely won't worry about catching COVID from their snacks. C'mon guys, cough louder, so the hairier folk can find you.
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:44 PM
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They can ban whatever they whatever to ban - it's just words that don't have any meaning until they enforce it. And from what I can see, mostly how they are (or actually were) trying to enforce it in NY is when the restaurants and bars were still open, the capacity was cut in half and if you had too many people you got whatever the normal consequence was for being over capacity. If a restaurant had a capacity of 100, it was cut to 50. Bowling alleys were closed to avoid what is basically a large gathering of people. Some areas are closing public parks to avoid large gatherings in parks.

And what's going on in NY is not a quarantine- I can go grocery shopping, and go out for exercise or to my mother's house (which I am not doing) or to a restaurant (seating capacity now 0) to pick up food (and possibly alcoholic beverages, as places with a liquor license can sell the with a food order to go). People are saying the governor closed all non-essential businesses down - but that's not actually what happened. He closed businesses where people gather ( gyms, bowling alleys,restaurants, hair salons) and of course, the essential businesses can stay open as can single-employee businesses - but the other non-essential businesses don't have to actually close. They simply have to allow employees to work from home, which is not possible for every person in every business but is absolutely possible for some.

It's actually almost the opposite of a quarantine - there is nowhere that I am not permitted to go. There are few places that are open that I want to go - but that's not placing a restriction on me.

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Old 03-22-2020, 12:47 AM
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They can ban whatever they whatever to ban - it's just words that don't have any meaning until they enforce it. And from what I can see, mostly how they are (or actually were) trying to enforce it in NY is when the restaurants and bars were still open, the capacity was cut in half and if you had too many people you got whatever the normal consequence was for being over capacity. If a restaurant had a capacity of 100, it was cut to 50. Bowling alleys were closed to avoid what is basically a large gathering of people. Some areas are closing public parks to avoid large gatherings in parks.
A friend of mine owns a bar, the first day (Tuesday) when she essentially had to close, a few cops stopped in to pick up some food. Out of curiosity, she asked what would have happened if she had a full crowd in there and their response was a shoulder shrug and a 'we don't know, no one told us yet'. I think that's part of it, this is happening so fast that no one knows who is supposed to be enforcing it and how to handle violations. The WI governor has since said that, if it comes down to it he does have the jurisdiction to deal with violations by way of a $500 fine and/or a month in jail, but he does see to be doing his best to encourage people to abide by the restrictions so he doesn't have to go that far.

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And what's going on in NY is not a quarantine- I can go grocery shopping, and go out for exercise or to my mother's house (which I am not doing) or to a restaurant (seating capacity now 0) to pick up food (and possibly alcoholic beverages, as places with a liquor license can sell the with a food order to go).
It might not be a quarantine in the strictest sense, but they're still asking people to keep their distance from each other.

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People are saying the governor closed all non-essential businesses down - but that's not actually what happened. He closed businesses where people gather ( gyms, bowling alleys,restaurants, hair salons) and of course, the essential businesses can stay open as can single-employee businesses - but the other non-essential businesses don't have to actually close. They simply have to allow employees to work from home, which is not possible for every person in every business but is absolutely possible for some.
It think you're conflating 'closed' with 'closed to the public'.
In either case, this seems like an odd point to argue against.

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It's actually almost the opposite of a quarantine - there is nowhere that I am not permitted to go. There are few places that are open that I want to go - but that's not placing a restriction on me.
Huh?. You literally just said "He closed businesses where people gather ( gyms, bowling alleys,restaurants, hair salons)"
Huh? So, are you allowed to go to the hair salon or not? What about bowling or the gym? In one post you stated both that there's no where that you're not permitted to go and listed a bunch of places that you're not permitted to do.
Unless you're just arguing over the technically definition of quarantine, I'm not understanding.

Last edited by Joey P; 03-22-2020 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:03 AM
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It think you're conflating 'closed' with 'closed to the public'.
In either case, this seems like an odd point to argue against.
No, I'm not conflating the two - many businesses or parts of them were never open to the public to begin with. It doesn't just apply to retail, it applies to every non-essential business with more than one employee. So a payroll processing company that doesn't have clients show up in person cannot bring their staff into the office - but they can set up their employees to work from home and avoid actually closing. There are people who are conflating the two, saying that the governor has closed all non essential businesses, and that's why I brought up the distinction.


Quote:
Huh?. You literally just said "He closed businesses where people gather (gyms, bowling alleys,restaurants, hair salons)"
Huh? So, are you allowed to go to the hair salon or not? What about bowling or the gym? In one post you stated both that there's no where that you're not permitted to go and listed a bunch of places that you're not permitted to do.
Unless you're just arguing over the technically definition of quarantine, I'm not understanding.
It's about the definition of quarantine. The restrictions are not on individuals. There is no restriction on me leaving my house and going to the hair salon - but the salon is not allowed to be open. The police will not arrest me or give me a ticket if I attend a large wedding- but the party will be broken up and the venue may be fined. If I was actually under quarantine, I wouldn't be permitted to leave my house. Typhoid Mary wasn't under quarantine when she was asked not to work as a cook - she was under quarantine when she was confined to North Brother Island.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:58 AM
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No, I'm not conflating the two - many businesses or parts of them were never open to the public to begin with. It doesn't just apply to retail, it applies to every non-essential business with more than one employee. So a payroll processing company that doesn't have clients show up in person cannot bring their staff into the office - but they can set up their employees to work from home and avoid actually closing. There are people who are conflating the two, saying that the governor has closed all non essential businesses, and that's why I brought up the distinction.

It's about the definition of quarantine. The restrictions are not on individuals. There is no restriction on me leaving my house and going to the hair salon - but the salon is not allowed to be open. The police will not arrest me or give me a ticket if I attend a large wedding- but the party will be broken up and the venue may be fined. If I was actually under quarantine, I wouldn't be permitted to leave my house. Typhoid Mary wasn't under quarantine when she was asked not to work as a cook - she was under quarantine when she was confined to North Brother Island.
This is all just beyond nitpicky.

But if you want to go down that road, your definition of quarantine is flawed. Being under quarantine doesn't mean you aren't allowed to leave some specific space (ie your house, a hospital room etc). It *can* mean that, as in 'I've been quarantined to my house". But that's not the overall definition of it. It simply means restraining your normal activities to prevent the spread of a disease. Federal law even defines it as separating yourself from others.

I have no idea why it's important that you make sure everyone understands that offices aren't closed, they're just not allowing people inside or that you can go hangout behind the bowling alley, you just can't go bowling.
Having said that, regardless of the exact word being used, every news report I see about makes it clear there's no restrictions to leaving your house. The issue is people congregating and potentially making spreading the virus.

Also, regarding not getting arrested or fined for violating that, yes, you can. The nature of the penalty and how it's (directly or indirectly) handled, is going to vary wildly from state to state. There's also federal laws regarding it.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:28 PM
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I have no idea why it's important that you make sure everyone understands that offices aren't closed, they're just not allowing people inside (snip)
Because of what you did here - I didn't say offices don't have to close , I said businesses don't have to close. It's not the same thing - there are businesses with people who work 100% from home under normal circumstances and even those who don't normally allow WFH are allowing it now.

Quote:
Also, regarding not getting arrested or fined for violating that, yes, you can. The nature of the penalty and how it's (directly or indirectly) handled, is going to vary wildly from state to state. There's also federal laws regarding it.
I'm pretty sure there isn't any state that has imposed penalties on individuals not known to have been exposed for not practicing "social distancing" - but there's a reason I said
"The police will not arrest me "rather than "The police will not arrest someone" or "will not arrest you". Although I'm not certain what California or Massachusetts is doing , I do know the police are not arresting individuals in New York and since that's where I am, the police will not arrest me.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:08 AM
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I agree with Stranger. The right to assembly is fundamental but not absolute. As I recall, it can be limited so long as the limitation is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest. As always, the outcome likely would turn on the specific facts of the case. Consider two different scenarios:

The courts would likely uphold a general ban with reasonable exceptions for essential purposes that only lasts during a limited period of weeks and was informed by experts who opine that the risk of pandemic spread is high in such situations.

On the other hand, the courts would likely strike down a ban that continues beyond what experts deem necessary, applies arbitrarily to select groups of people, or is selectively enforced in a way that results in a disproportionate impact (e.g., only limiting gatherings in urban areas so as to impact only non-whites).
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:28 PM
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I agree with Stranger. The right to assembly is fundamental but not absolute. As I recall, it can be limited so long as the limitation is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest. As always, the outcome likely would turn on the specific facts of the case. Consider two different scenarios:

The courts would likely uphold a general ban with reasonable exceptions for essential purposes that only lasts during a limited period of weeks and was informed by experts who opine that the risk of pandemic spread is high in such situations.

On the other hand, the courts would likely strike down a ban that continues beyond what experts deem necessary, applies arbitrarily to select groups of people, or is selectively enforced in a way that results in a disproportionate impact (e.g., only limiting gatherings in urban areas so as to impact only non-whites).
"what EXPERTS deem necessary". Boy, is that ever a slippery slope! Who is an "expert"? Who decides who an "expert" is? What if those "in authority" only choose to listen to whichever "expert" aligns with their way of thinking or with what laws they want enforced?
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:32 PM
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Can A Governor Legally Order 40 Million People To Stay Home?!

https://www.facebook.com/DaveChampio...00015591181850
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:44 PM
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"what EXPERTS deem necessary". Boy, is that ever a slippery slope! Who is an "expert"? Who decides who an "expert" is? What if those "in authority" only choose to listen to whichever "expert" aligns with their way of thinking or with what laws they want enforced?
Yeah, you fight the power, buddy.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:09 PM
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Yeah, you fight the power, buddy.
Thanks for your valiant attempt to answer the questions.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:27 PM
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LegalEagle’s Real Law Review(YouTube.com channel): “Can the US Legally Quarantine the Coronavirus?”

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Old 03-22-2020, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
"what EXPERTS deem necessary". Boy, is that ever a slippery slope! Who is an "expert"? Who decides who an "expert" is? What if those "in authority" only choose to listen to whichever "expert" aligns with their way of thinking or with what laws they want enforced?
In this case epidemiologists and virologists are the “experts”, and while the may not have all of the answers they have the training and experience to make the best recommendations based upon past experience.

Are you just arguing for the sake of arguing, or do you actually have a coherent objection to the measures being imposed to reduce the impact of the outbreak?

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Old 03-22-2020, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
In this case epidemiologists and virologists are the “experts”, and while the may not have all of the answers they have the training and experience to make the best recommendations based upon past experience.

Are you just arguing for the sake of arguing, or do you actually have a coherent objection to the measures being imposed to reduce the impact of the outbreak?

Stranger
I am simply asking who or what group will be in charge of choosing which epidemiologists and virologists to listen to. It is highly improbable that you will get a clear and concise set of steps from 100% of the top epidemiologists and virologists in the country (or world).

I would hope that a committee of elected officials (the people's representatives) make the final decision by voting for what steps to take to fight the outbreak after listening to some top epidemiologists and virologists. As you know, the US Constitution is perfectly set up to handle such a crisis and there is no reason to assume it is not.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
"what EXPERTS deem necessary". Boy, is that ever a slippery slope! Who is an "expert"? Who decides who an "expert" is? What if those "in authority" only choose to listen to whichever "expert" aligns with their way of thinking or with what laws they want enforced?
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
"what EXPERTS deem necessary". Boy, is that ever a slippery slope! Who is an "expert"? Who decides who an "expert" is? What if those "in authority" only choose to listen to whichever "expert" aligns with their way of thinking or with what laws they want enforced?
The courts decide. If you're asking in good faith and genuinely interested, start with the Daubert standard and FRE 702.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_702
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:47 PM
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The courts decide. If you're asking in good faith and genuinely interested, start with the Daubert standard and FRE 702.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_702
I appreciate your answer, but I really have to wonder why you feel that you have to ask me if I'm "asking in good faith" and whether or not I am "genuinely interested" in an answer.

Did you assume I was asking the questions I did as a joke or something less than serious?

The country is facing a serious crisis, but I want to be sure that when the US emerges out of this situation, we return to a country just as free as we were before the virus struck.

As you know, governments never let a good crisis good to waste and the citizens have to be vigilant against any slide toward tyranny.
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
I appreciate your answer, but I really have to wonder why you feel that you have to ask me if I'm "asking in good faith" and whether or not I am "genuinely interested" in an answer.

Did you assume I was asking the questions I did as a joke or something less than serious?

The country is facing a serious crisis, but I want to be sure that when the US emerges out of this situation, we return to a country just as free as we were before the virus struck.

As you know, governments never let a good crisis good to waste and the citizens have to be vigilant against any slide toward tyranny.
The caveat was genuine but not meant as an assumption about your motive. I could’ve left it out. I’m sorry that iI came off presumptive.

I agree with being vigilant about our freedoms and your hope we come out of this with our liberty.

Did the info about the Daubert standard and federal rules assuage your concerns about expert testimony?
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
I am simply asking who or what group will be in charge of choosing which epidemiologists and virologists to listen to. It is highly improbable that you will get a clear and concise set of steps from 100% of the top epidemiologists and virologists in the country (or world).
In the US, that would be medical scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) to develop specific polices and plans, and the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service to put said plans into operation in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the applicable agencies of the various states and major municipalities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
I would hope that a committee of elected officials (the people's representatives) make the final decision by voting for what steps to take to fight the outbreak after listening to some top epidemiologists and virologists. As you know, the US Constitution is perfectly set up to handle such a crisis and there is no reason to assume it is not.
Directing an emergency response action is essentially an executive function. The primary purpose of Congress is to pass laws and make funding available; expecting every policy decision to come to a Congressional vote would be assuring inaction and paralysis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
The country is facing a serious crisis, but I want to be sure that when the US emerges out of this situation, we return to a country just as free as we were before the virus struck.

As you know, governments never let a good crisis good to waste and the citizens have to be vigilant against any slide toward tyranny.
There is always the concern that a threat, and particularly an existential threat like major terrorism or pandemic, can be used as a pretext for violating or restricting the rights of individuals. This was certainly the case after September 11, 2001, when the USA PATRIOT Act suddenly 'appeared' in its gargantuan extent of both physical size and breadth of expansion of government surveillance permissions and FISA court authority barely a month after the attack despite the fact that no one had time to read the bill in its entirety before voting it into law. But these specific guidelines of "social distancing", closing bars, restaurants, and other non-essential businesses, and putting major metropolitan areas and affected states under a voluntary lockdown are basic actions consistent with trying limit the spread of the virus and blunt the peak of COVID-19 critical care cases. These are measures that epidemiologists across the board agree upon as fundamental in response to an outbreak because absent of a vaccine or effective pharmaceutical intervention it is the only way to effectively reduce fatalities.

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Old 03-22-2020, 08:46 PM
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If enough members of Congress (both houses) die, can the survivors vote a POTUS dictatorial powers "to deal with the crisis", essentially suspending the Constitution? Especially if a few of SCOTUS croak too. Are we Dopers short-sighted to only consider governors' decrees?
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by RioRico View Post
If enough members of Congress (both houses) die, can the survivors vote a POTUS dictatorial powers "to deal with the crisis", essentially suspending the Constitution? Especially if a few of SCOTUS croak too. Are we Dopers short-sighted to only consider governors' decrees?
If members of Congress die, there will be special elections (for the Reps and some Senate seats) or appointments (for other Senate seats). The state governors have the power to keep Congress well-stocked.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:53 PM
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Last edited by pool; 03-24-2020 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 03-28-2020, 05:43 PM
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Fortunatly I have Creek liscence plates and a Native ID card.

It confuses people.

Last edited by Dale Sams; 03-28-2020 at 05:46 PM.
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