After a report on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Monday lambasted Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for expanding her state’s stay-at-home order to include a ban on visiting relatives and holding private gatherings with friends, Judge Andrew Napolitano joined the conversation to say that many other state leaders were guilty of the same kind of unconstitutional overreach.
“Your analysis of Governor Whitmer could apply to nearly all the remaining 49 governors who assume that they have the power to crush individual liberties, violate the Constitution, and write laws,” Napolitano said. “They don’t.”
Judge Nap continued: “Laws in this country are written by legislative branches after public hearings and debates, so there’s a transparency, so we know why she doesn’t want you to buy garden hoses. There would have to be a rational basis to articulate it, but when the executive branch takes upon itself the role of not just enforcing the law, but of making up new ones and in the process crushes basic fundamental liberties like the right to travel and the right to worship — never mind on Easter Sunday but — any time you want to worship — we are witnessing the slow death, the death in slow motion of civil liberties.
“These governors, these petty tyrants, will use this power again and again until some courageous federal court or an outraged public stops them,” he continued.
Napolitano went on to say that while it was understandable and forgivable for Americans to be scared during this widespread pandemic, fear was no reason to hand over extreme power to governors and local officials looking to seize it.
“Hopefully, it will be outrage stirred up by the type of reporting that you and some of our colleagues have begun to be doing,” he said. “Basic human liberties are guaranteed in the Constitution. They can’t even be taken away by the vote of the legislature, much less the command of a governor or a mayor. These executive orders look like orders and sound like orders. They are just guidelines.
“There cannot be a criminal sanction because they are at their root just the whim of those in power intended to enhance their power, but they are not valid expressions of constitutional documents,” he concluded.
Without question, this shutdown is going to soon give rise to legal challenges all across the country, and we are going to quickly find out where the limits lie. While there is currently a bit of a power struggle between President Trump and state governors as to who holds the ultimate authority to reopen the country, we may soon find that it is the judicial branch that holds all the cards. All it takes is one successful lawsuit, and the whole tower may come crumbling down.