The debate is growing quickly and taking on the same bitter attitudes that virtually everything about the Beer Flu Panic (COVID-19 pandemic) has. As more and more governors extend executive orders (decrees) extending lockdowns of their states, the Donald is pushing for at least some restoration of the economy and other activities in the Fifty States.
And he has now stated that HE, not the governors of the various States, is authorized to make the decision to let people go back to work. To get the economy going again. A mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians have screamed loudly that such power belongs to the governors of the various States. That the Constitution says that is part of the powers “reserved to the States.”
Forgive me, I’m going to argue differently. I am going to go contrary to the prevailing opinion. Forgive, for I am going to support Trump in this. Although perhaps NOT for the reasons that Trump and his advisors are claiming it is his decision to make.
And I believe that my argument saying that the President does indeed have the power to let people go back to work and override the governors of the various States is based on a sound constitutional footing.
More and more people have joined with me and others in stating that what the Governors of the various States has done is tyrannical. The mandatory closing of certain businesses (and other activities) as “non-essential.” The imposing of controls – or complete closure – of roads and other methods of transportation. The “stay-at-home” and “safe-at-home” and “self-quarantine” orders, nothing more than euphemisms for house-arrest. House arrest without due process of any sort: no trial, no verdict, no law to establish that such things are crimes – other than “DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD.”
Not just tyrannical but totalitarian. Government literally controls EVERY aspect, EVERY hour, of the lives of their citizens. While it varies from State to State, the new “laws” – decrees and demands published and enforced with only the flimsiest of republican government and decensy – are draconian. And while many are nothing but words and often not enforced, more and more states and localities ARE attempting to enforce these pronouncements by tickets and fines – and yes, not just the threat of force, but actual force. And the media and political leaders, from county commissioners and town trustees to some legislators, beg for more and more control. More and more enforcement.
Please read with me from the United States Constitution:
ARTICLE IV. SECTION 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
I don’t see how it can be any clearer.
Most of the States have ABANDONED republican government. They have replaced it with DICTATORSHIP. By elected officials, but still DICTATORSHIP. The States have nullified or all but gutted the entire concept of republican (AND democratic) government. And in particular, several of the articles of the Bill of Rights:
- The First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion and assembly
- The Fourth Amendment guarantees of security in their persons (mandatory testing), houses (searches for disease) and more.
- The Fifth Amendment guarantees of NOT being deprived of liberty without due process of law, and in many cases, taking of private property without just compensation – and it can be argued, life (people denied medical care to supposedly ensure care for COVID-19 victims)
- The Sixth Amendment guarantees of trial – especially speedy and public. Both by closing down courts in fear and for imprisoning people in their homes without trial because they are accused of a “crime” of being potentially infected by someone.
- The Seventh Amendment, in losing jobs and therefore income (certainly more than $20 – or $1600, if you believe “$20” in the Constitution means 1 ounce of gold) by DIRECT government action.
- (Possibly) the Eighth Amendment, especially for some parents, <grin> who can argue that being confined to their homes with teenage children does constitute “cruel and unusual pumishments. And more seriously, the taking of all salaries and wages by making it illegal for a person to work can certainly be considered “excessive fines imposed.”
In addition to the Bill of Rights, many States have violated other portions of the Constitution including:
- Article I, Section 9, Clause 2: Suspension of the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus – although this clause applies to Congress, I believe every State’s constitution has a similar if not identical clause.
- Article I, Section 10, Clause 1: Impairing the obligation of contracts by closing down lawful and law-abiding businesses, preventing “non-essential” travel and many other actions of the States.
These are just scratching the surface. The freedom of movement, for example, is generally believed to be as essential and implied as the “right of privacy” and found in the 9th and 10th Articles of the Bill of Rights. The drafting of medical personnel, done in many states, may very well be a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.
The Trump administration seems to understand this. Attorney General Barr has already stated that the Department of Justice will be going after local and state governments which violate the First Amendment by denying the right to assemble for religious purposes. The administration has also been relatively careful in making it clear that the power of the States was recognized and deferred to: the actions as far as “social distancing” and other measures have all be presented to the States as recommendations, suggestions, and guidelines.
Trump, despite calls for him to do so, has NOT assumed dictatorial powers – and it seems unlikely that he is trying to do so now, by claiming he has the power to decide to “let my people go” from the captivity of lockdowns and closure of “non-essential” activities.
And indeed consider also, Article II Section 3. “He shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The Constitution (even those unpleasant parts I’ve listed) IS indeed the Law of the American Union, and each State Constitution recognizes that. The President has the power to interpret the law to ensure that it IS being executed “faithfully” and NOT just by him and his branch of government.
We can read 10 USC Sections 332, and 333: “The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both . . . shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it—(1) so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law . . . .”748
Eisenhower did this in 1957 when he sent troops to Little Rock. Is trump likely to actually send troops to reopen the States? Probably not. But there are many other actions: cutting off funding is one that immediately comes to mind. And going directly to the people, using his “bully pulpit.” And it would not be unlike Trump to at least hint or outright threaten to use troops to protect the rights of Americans. (Hypocritical, but what is new?)
Feel free to challenge me on these things, but it seems clear that Trump DOES have the power, under the Constitution, to let people go back to work!
My take: the Gov and the president had no right to do what they did ( order a shut down), it was illegal to shut down everything, they can ask the businesses to shut down and let the public make a decision to go or not to go. They president and Gov used the Gestapo to enfore their illegal actions. Problem: the public bought off on this entire line of bull dren.
The governors have certainly done so, but I don’t think the president did not actually shut anything down except federal agencies. As you said, he and his advisers asked and recommended shutdown – published guidelines. But didn’t actually force any businesses to stop (again, except for federal government contractors). But yes, the public has bought everything: panic and fear.