Ten plaintiffs asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review December’s Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling upholding Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive orders that placed restrictions on businesses and residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance, which represents the small business owners, the head of a private school and the head of two religious organizations who filed the lawsuit, filed a petition Monday arguing the executive orders were based on the 1950s Cold War-era Civil Defense Act and should not have been used for a health emergency. The Alliance also argues the state’s Public Health Act gives control to local boards of health to prevent disease transmission and that Baker overstepped his authority by putting statewide rules in place on March 10, 2020.
In the December decision by the state’s high court, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth Cypher cited the grim toll of the pandemic, writing “reducing the dangers of COVID-19 is a significant government interest.” But New Civil Liberties Alliance said in its petition the SJC never explained how the orders were consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution.
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