Thursday, May 21, 2020

Local bar owner files lawsuit against Lee, Cooper; others. Says stay-at-home orders trampled Constitutional rights. .

by Rod Williams - A local bar owner, Geoffrey Reid, owner of "The Local Spot" has filed a lawsuit against Governor Bill Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper and several other State and local officials alleging the stay-at-home order violates his civil rights.  Specifically he says it violates the 14th Amendment Due Process clause, the 9th Amendment and "inalienable, fundamental rights, both enumerated and unenumerated in the U.S. Constitution."

Mr. Reid says he has followed the law and as a result as lost over $200,000 in revenue. He is seeking a declaratory judgement that the policy did violate his rights and injunctive relief seeking a prohibition of further enforcement of the policy.

The suit recognized that the State has broad authority to control communicable deceases but argues "law is clear that '[w]henever . . . epidemic diseases appear within any locality within the state . . .the commissioner shall prepare and carry into effect such rules and regulations as, in the commissioner’s judgment will, with the least inconvenience to commerce and travel, prevent the spread of the disease.' See Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-1-201(1)(emphasis added)."

Instead of following the law, the State locked down almost all businesses. Among other arguments is that the law provides that,"the medical director is to establish and maintain quarantine, isolation or use other methods of control of the infected individual."  Instead, we quarantined large segments of the population who were not infected.

The suite argues that sick people should have been quarantined and vulnerable people encouraged to quarantine but the State and City exceeded their authority by the lock down order.

I am pleased to see this law suit filed.  There needs to be clarity as to what power the government does have in a crisis.  While an extraordinary crisis may require and extraordinary response we cannot throw the Constitution under the bus.

To read the complete lawsuit, follow this link.

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