Article IV, Section 4, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution states, “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.” A republican form of government is one in which the ultimate lawmaking power resides in representatives elected by the people.
However, in the name of combating the coronavirus pandemic, more and more state governors are ruling by decree, curtailing freedoms and ordering residents to stay at home.
Due process is being eroded as governors and mayors across the country take away the livelihood of their residents, restrict people’s freedom to travel, forbid religious gatherings in places of worship, and threaten to put people in jail who refuse to abide by city and state orders to stay at home.
As of April 9, 2020, The New York Times reported, “at least 316 million people in at least 42 states, three counties, nine cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are being urged to stay home.” That’s over 90 percent of the total U.S. population!
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom’s issued an executive order enabling the government to seize private property. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-25-20 authorizes the California Health and Human Services Agency and the Office of Emergency Services to “if necessary” exercise “the State’s power to commandeer property – hotels and other places of temporary residence, medical facilities, and other facilities that are suitable for use as places of temporary residence or medical facilities as necessary for quarantining, isolating, or treating individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who have a high-risk exposure and are thought to be in the incubation period.” (Emphasis added).
In both Ohio and Kentucky, the governors of those states are encouraging residents to report to local authorities any “non-essential” businesses that they observe to be violating state orders to shutdown. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine tweeted a message from the state’s Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, which read: “If you believe a business is in violation of the rules, call your health department or local law enforcement.”
In Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued Emergency Order #5, effective March 17, 2020, prohibiting all public and private mass gatherings of 10 or more people in the state. The order cited the authority of Wisconsin statute 252.02(3).
When you look up that particular statute on the website of the Wisconsin State Legislature, it states regarding the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, “The department may close schools and forbid public gatherings in schools, churches, and other places to control outbreaks and epidemics.” (Emphasis added).
Governor Evers again cited statute 252.02(3), along with Wisconsin statute 252.02(6), in his Emergency Order #12 in order to justify his so-called “Safer at home order.” Wisconsin statute 252.02(6) broadly states without restriction: “The department [of Health Services] may authorize and implement all emergency measures necessary to control communicable diseases.” (Emphasis added).
Both of those statutes, justifying the governor’s orders, not only violate the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, they also violate Wisconsin’s own state constitution. For example, Article I, Section 4, of the Wisconsin Constitution explicitly states, “The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”
Each usurpation of power needs to be met with the appropriate constitutional solutions. This is also true at the state level. If you are sheltered at home, take the opportunity to review your state’s constitution to see what your state legislature can do to be a check on your states draconian measures.
We encourage you to read and share The New American magazine’s Special Report (cover date of April 20, 2020) about the coronavirus. Click the image above for a FREE digital PDF version of the issue. You can also purchase physical print copies of this issue, for as low as $1.95 when purchasing in bulk or $3.95 for an individual copy, at ShopJBS. The cover story, “Coronavirus: Freedom Is the Cure,” written by Dennis Behreandt examines how governments around the world are trying to stop the coronavirus by curbing the market and stopping the lives of hundreds of millions of people, although they shouldn’t. The article entitled, “Your Papers Please,” also by Dennis Behreandt, addresses how in the name of fighting the coronavirus, liberty is being destroyed all across the West. And the article, “The Viral Assault on Our Rights,” by Luis Miguel, looks at how fear and panic have pushed individualistic Americans into practically begging the government to take away their rights.
We also encourage you to watch “Overview of America” – a 30-minute video that offers a straight forward explanation about how our unique system of government should work and how America became great. After watching it, share it with others. You can do so by hosting a “watch party” over the internet. This simple action will educate others about the proper limitations of government and it is what The John Birch Society has been doing for over 60 year.
It was President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in a letter to William Charles Jarvis, on September 28, 1820: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
We also encourage you and others to join The John Birch Society in take part in our concerted education-action program to educate the American people. Even under shelter-in-place orders, you can still host make phone calls, utilize social media, and host video conferences to help wake up more Americans and enlist them in the fight to keep our Republic and stop the abuses of government tyranny.
Please phone, email, and tweet your state legislators and governor to urge them to obey constitutional limitations on power and respect our inherent God-given rights. Encourage your governor to revoke or lift any orders mandating the shutting down of businesses and churches, seizing private property, requiring people to stay in their home, and other forced compliance. Likewise encourage others to contact their state legislators and governor with the same message.
Scroll down or to the left of your screen to email, phone, tweet, and video message your state legislator and governor.
In the name of fighting the coronavirus, more and more state governors are ruling by decree, curtailing freedoms and ordering residents to stay at home.