Gov. Charlie Baker filed a court brief on Friday defending his use of a 1950 Civil Defense Law to declare a COVID-19 state of emergency, equating the virus to the “natural causes” referenced in the law and pointing out that the Legislature has not balked at his use of emergency powers to shut down the state’s economy.

The brief, which includes citations to Alexander Hamilton and The Federalist Papers, is the first time Baker has publicly spelled out in any detail his legal authority for declaring a state of emergency.

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