Posts tagged with "California Governor Gavin Newsom"

Supreme Court tosses Nevada church’s challenge to COVID-19 orders

July 28, 2020

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Friday, July 24,  to reject a Nevada church’s plea to overturn state public-health orders limiting attendance at services—marking the second time Chief Justice John Roberts has joined the liberal justices to uphold emergency measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, located east of Reno in Lyon County, Nevada, argued that public-health orders issued by Governor Steve Sisolak (D) allowed casinos and other secular businesses greater leeway than houses of worship—which were capped at 50 people for indoor services, The New York Times reported.

Calvary Chapel sought to conduct services for up to 90 congregants, but pledged to implement various social-distancing rules and other measures to contain COVID-19’s spread.

Governor Sisolak said his order placed fewer restrictions on houses of worship than on movie theaters, museums and zoos. While casinos could admit up to 50% of their capacity, the governor argued that pervasive state regulation of the gambling industry, including on-premises enforcement officers, disqualified them for comparison to unregulated churches.

Lower courts declined to suspend the public-health orders during the church’s lawsuit, prompting the high court appeal, the Times said.

The Supreme Court denied the appeal without comment. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan comprised the majority.

Four of the more conservative justices dissented, as they did in May when the same majority declined to block similar California orders capping attendance at religious services.

“The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or black-jack, to feed tokens into a slot machine, or to engage in any other game of chance,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the principal dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Alito said that at the outbreak of the pandemic, officials should have broad discretion over emergency measures, adding that several months into the health crisis, greater court oversight was called for.

He said it was “hard to swallow” the state’s claim that casino regulators would keep a firm grip on contagion within well-attended gambling palaces while public health required holding the church to a lower limit.

Justice Kavanaugh filed a separate opinion laying out his own views of the case.

Although the majority didn’t elaborate on Friday’s order, in May, Chief Justice Roberts filed an opinion explaining why he voted to uphold Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom’s order capping attendance at indoor church services.

“The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement,” the chief justice wrote then, adding that the Constitution principally assigns such judgments “to the politically accountable officials of the States.”

Research contact:  @nytimes

Trump, Cuomo clash on reopening country

April 16, 2020

President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—the latter of whom has risen to greater prominence nationwide and higher performance ratings during the COVID-19 crisis—butted heads this week over who has the power to reopen the country, which has largely shut down in response to the pandemic.

Two coalitions on both coasts announced by nine Democratic governors—and including including Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom— have eclipsed the president’s authority-saying they will form plans on when and how to start reopening their states, with little mention of the president, The Epoch Times reports.

And they have the authority to do it, for two reasons:

  • First, according to the Centers for Disease Control, states “have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders.”
  • Second, the president, himself, delegated authority for the coronavirus mitigation effort to the governors early on, instead of risking responsibility for the (possibly unsuccessful) effort at the federal level.

However, Trump told reporters late on April 13 that he, alone, had the authority to decide when to reopen the country; and then reversed himself at another point during the briefing, saying that the governors could decide when to reopen their states.

“We will soon finalize new and very important guidelines to give governors the information they need to start safely opening their states,” he said, referencing a new committee he formed to explore when and how to reopen.

Asked what would happen if some states refuse to reopen, Trump suggested those governors would be voted out of office.

“They’re going to open. They’re going to all open. They want to open. They have to open. They have to get open. Every one of those states, people want to go,” the president said. “We have local government that hopefully will do a good job and, if they don’t do a good job, I’d step in so fast.”

The situation is different in some states that have seen few cases of the CCP virus, compared with some of the hardest-hit states such as New York, Louisiana, and Michigan, Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence backed the president, The Epoch Times reported, remarking, “Throughout the long history of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary,” or absolute.

“You can look back through times of war and other national emergencies,” he said.

“It is possible for federal, state, local, and tribal health authorities to have and use all at the same time, separate but coexisting legal quarantine power in certain events. In the event of a conflict, federal law is supreme,” the agency stated.

In direct opposition, Cuomo, who has veered between praising and criticizing Trump, said early on April 14 that Trump shouldn’t try to force states to reopen.

Noting that Trump is not a “king,” Cuomo told MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts, “The only way this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis.”

“If he says to me, ‘I declare it open,’ and that is a public health risk or it’s reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also pushed back on Trump’s assertions while California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has repeatedly referred to that state as a “nation-state,” said the West Coast compact will focus on reopening based on “health—not politics.”

Trump responded to Cuomo on Twitter, claiming the New York governor has been calling him every day “begging for everything,” including items that should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals and ventilators.

“I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!” Trump wrote.

Research contact: @EpochTimes