Our opinion: Court ignores loss of rights

It’s disappointing that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied to hear a case challenging Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 business closure orders that included two Warren County businesses as plaintiffs.

State governments are given broad power to issue public health orders, and that power has been upheld by Supreme Court precedent. USA Today reported that through mid-May, some 1,300 state and federal lawsuits had been filed over COVID-19, including 240 dealing with civil rights. Given the dizzying array of court cases stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the differing responses in state courts, new federal standards would be helpful to lower courts in deciding these cases.

We note, for example, a federal judge who ruled that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo exceeded his authority in limiting worship services and condoning mass protests earlier this year while similar cases in California and Nevada were decided in favor of the state.

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere soon, contrary to the claims of some who say the virus will disappear after Election Day. While the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear oral arguments in the Pennsylvania case, we note a similar case being argued by Marc Scaringi, the attorney who filed the local case, in federal court.

States have broad police power, but they shouldn’t have unlimited power. Where is the line where individual rights are violated? We still don’t have an answer to that question — and we deserve one.


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