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Outrage: Court Ruling Allows State to Seize Citizens for Indefinite Quarantine and Isolation – Due Process No More?

Outrage: Court Ruling Allows State to Seize Citizens for Indefinite Quarantine and Isolation – Due Process No More?

The pandemic might be over, but the plague of government overreach looks more permanent all the time.

That’s the lesson out of a recent ruling by a New York state appeals court that effectively upheld the right of state officials to arbitrarily seize and detain pretty much any person they deem necessary.

And, of course, it’s in the name of public safety.

In the Nov. 17 ruling, according to the Albany Times Union, the Empire State’s Fourth Judicial Department overruled a lower court ruling that invalidated a state Health Department Rule 2.13 that spelled out the powers of officials to control the spread of communicable disease.

Last year, the Times Union reported, a New York Supreme Court judge threw out rule 2.13 on the grounds that it violated due process.

(For the uninitiated, a New York “Supreme Court” isn’t “supreme” at all. In the New York judicial system, there are two court levels above it — the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals.)

In his July 2022 ruling, the Times Union reported at the time, Justice Ronald Ploetz “said the law could conceivably grant the commissioner the power to force anyone into isolation or quarantine, despite a lack of evidence that a person is infected with COVID-19.”

“Involuntary detention is a severe deprivation of individual liberty, far more egregious than other health safety measures, such as requiring mask-wearing at certain venues,” Ploetz wrote, according to the Times Union. “Involuntary quarantine may have far-reaching consequences such as loss of income (or employment) and isolation from family.”

The regulation was adopted in February 2022 under the administration of Gov. Kathy Hochul — an elected official with such little regard for freedom of speech that she has literally told her state’s conservatives they should go live somewhere else.

Her administration, represented by Attorney General Letitia James (whom most Americans have heard of by now as former President Donald Trump’s legal nemesis in New York), appealed Ploetz’s ruling against the regulation.

In the Nov. 17 decision, the appeals court ruled in the state’s favor — not on the merits of rule 2.13 itself or the objections to it, but on the narrow grounds that the challengers lacked “standing” in the case.

The challengers are three Republican lawmakers —  state Sen. George Borrello, Assemblyman Chris Tague and former Assemblyman, now U.S. Rep. Michael Lawler — and the conservative group Uniting NYS.

The Appellate Division court ruled they don’t have grounds to fight Rule 2.13 because its adoption did not unduly infringe on the powers of the legislature.

“The court found that the GOP officials and the organization did not sufficiently establish why they were so severely harmed and that the trial court failed to adequately rule on the merits of whether the petitioners had a right to bring the case in the first place,” the Times Union reported.

In a purely technical sense, it might be true that the lawmakers and Uniting NYS lacked “standing” to sue, but from the point of view of being American citizens, their “standing” looks pretty solid.

Social media users are paying attention:

Borrello’s office issued a statement on behalf of the plaintiffs, vowing to appeal to the state’s highest court — the New York Court of Appeals (not the New York Supreme Court).

“They have not only paved the way for Hochul and her Department of Health to re-issue this heinous Rule, but they have set a precedent to preclude citizens from rightfully challenging government overreach in court, and they’ve effectively unconstitutionally empowered the Executive Branch to overreach into policymaking, which is a decision that could open the door to further abuses of power,” the statement said.

Every American who cares about freedom should pray that their appeal succeeds. Democrats of the 21st century have proven time and again they don’t respect the institutions that make the United States great.

The emergency conditions of COVID showed the sharp contrast between Republican and Democratic philosophies. In Republican states like Florida, resistance to COVID lockdowns led to quicker recoveries. In Democratic states like New York, the grasping for power continues even after the pandemic has passed.

Rule 2.13 is sweeping in its language, and while it pays “lip service” to due process, as Ploetz wrote in his 2022 ruling, the power is entirely with the state health commissioner to determine who could be detained to control the alleged spread of disease, where those individuals could be held — under what conditions — and for how long.

In short, it has the effect of allowing an American state to seize citizens — or in New York’s case, non-citizens — for indefinite quarantine and isolation with a joke of due process.

It’s a gulag mentality that should be anathema to any American — lawmaker or civilian, governor or judge, bricklayer or supermarket cashier.

The plague of power-hungry politicians won’t go away this side of Judgment Day — man is a fallen creature, after all.

But that doesn’t mean the country has to accept it.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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