According to any sane reading of the Constitution, the State here in the United States does not have the power to issue mandatory quarantine orders.
They just don’t.
Because they are expressly forbidden from “abridging” “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”.
The actual text there is very straightforward.
Especially when it’s a church.
Annoyingly, religion does have a privileged place in American society and even more so today than when the Constitution was written, so this group of lunatics is actually protected twice-over in the same 1st Amendment.
In addition to the bit about assembly, the text also forbids the State from “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion.
So, all of this is un-Constitutional?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
A lawyer I worked with years ago told me that they’re taught early-on that the law is not a thing, it is a process: it is not actually possible to tell what the law really is without going through the process of finding out what you can convince a judge of.
I was, naturally, appalled.
But that is actually how the American legal system works: the law is whatever a judge says it is.
And judges have taken it pretty far off course.
So it’s likely that when this preacher goes to court the state will win by convincing a judge that regardless of the plain English meaning of the goddamn words, somehow the State ordering everyone to stay in their homes is not “abridging” “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”.
And that is just wrong.
Mind you, the idea behind the order is absolutely correct: you should stay home as much as you can.
Things are bad out there right now, and the only way to help make it better is to stay separated as much as possible; for a long time.
But in this country the State has no legitimate authority to order you to.
But since the Courts have already screwed this one up, it’s apparently up to us to remind it of that.
Just … not this way.
(I suggested this was coming two weeks ago in Don’t Get Comfortable: Quarantine, Evacuation, And Curfew; I have not been happy about that being correct.)
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