Governors' orders called blatantly wrong, unconstitutional

Monday, November 23, 2020
Chris Woodward, Charlie Butts (

CA Gov NewsomNot everyone is happy about or plans to comply with Governor Gavin Newsom's (D-CA) overnight curfew or Governor Andrew Cuomo's (D-NY) invasive Thanksgiving limitations.

Health advisers have told Gov. Cuomo to expect a surge in coronavirus cases within the couple of weeks following Thanksgiving, so he is limiting state residents to ten people or fewer in their homes for Thanksgiving.

"We really think that's a clear constitutional violation," responds Jason McGuire of the New Yorker's Family Research Foundation. "In addition to that, it's everything that's wrong with New York. You know, we celebrate the wrong things here in this state. We shouldn't be shaming family ties; we should be celebrating them. If there's ever a time when Americans should be gathering around the table celebrating family … Thanksgiving, and faith in God, now is the time."


Attorney Daniel Ortner of Pacific Legal Foundation, a law firm suing Gov. Newsom over his shutdown orders, says states have historically issued curfews when there is rioting, insurrection, or "something that really requires a curfew," but the governor has kept the Golden State shut down through executive order for eight months now.

"The legislature has no input, has not been able to influence what's going on," Ortner reports. "It's been the governor running the show, and that violates the separation of powers that the California Constitution guarantees."

"We think it's just one step shy of martial law," observes attorney Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute. "We found it to be obviously problematic. Indeed, there is pushback not just for citizens but many sheriff's departments [and] police departments have said they will not enforce such orders."

PJI is suing to challenge the governor's newest orders. 

Ortner says the curfew, which expects people not on essential errands to stay home from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, is pointless.

"It only applies to counties that are already shut down," Ortner explains. "Businesses are already unable to operate indoors in these purple counties, and so this curfew just doesn't do anything to protect help. It's just for show and not helpful to anyone."

At least one law enforcement office, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, says it will not be enforcing Gov. Newsom's stay-at-home order, which does not expire until December 21.

In New York, while McGuire does not think Gov. Cuomo's order is enforceable, he says to use the governor's office in this invasive manner is blatantly wrong.

"Rather than dictate what families should not do, this the governor could have used the bully pulpit to remind people of the dangers of COVID and to do it in a safe manner," the New Yorker suggests. "We're certainly doing it in our household. We're putting in some precautions to guard against the spread of coronavirus while at the same time taking time to celebrate family this Thanksgiving."

Gov. Newsom, who claims California's curfew is needed to combat the skyrocketing increase in COVID-19 cases, has been caught in recent days ignoring his own orders and recommendations by attending a large dinner party and not wearing a mask.

"Gavin Newsom has no moral authority to talk about COVID right now, given his hypocrisy," Ortner contends. "He's been favoring businesses that he likes and disfavoring ones that he doesn't like."

For example, people who work in the entertainment industry are among the workers who are exempt from the curfew, but small businesses remain shut down.


"We're suing the governor right now on behalf of businesses in the central valley that are challenging these shutdown orders," Ortner continues. "We're representing a business called Ghost Golf in Fresno, where the owner has put his life savings into his work, and he's about to run out of money because he made no money over Halloween, which is a big time for business."

Ortner wishes the media outlets were more willing to ask questions about fundamental rights.

"Media sees government as the answer, and they want solutions from the government," says Ortner. "They don't ask, 'Does the governor really need to do this?' or, 'Is there a better solution through individual rights and freedom?'"

He concludes it is unfortunate that the media is not more attuned to that kind of thinking.


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