Are stay-at-home orders constitutional? Experts have questions

Gov. Gavin Newsom. AP photo.

BY ELAINE GOODMAN
Daily Post Correspondent

State and county department orders for residents to shelter at home to curb the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory illness are fueling debate over whether the measures are constitutional.

States have police powers under the U.S. Constitution that give them authority to protect public health, safety, and welfare, scholars say. Still, sweeping measures that keep residents at home for extended periods could face legal challenges, some contend.

The ACLU of Northern California said it is monitoring the issue.

“The shelter-in-place orders that have been issued for the entire state of California are clearly an enormous and almost unprecedented curtailment of our individual civil liberties,” the organization said in a statement. The group noted the measures’ “overwhelming support” from public health experts “in support of our collective well-being.”

Six Bay area counties — including Santa Clara and San Mateo — issued an order last week directing residents to shelter at home for three weeks starting March 17 as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Exceptions are allowed for “essential” activities such as getting groceries or caring for a family member. And residents can go to work if their employer provides essential services.

The orders ask sheriffs and police departments to “ensure compliance” with the restrictions. Failure to comply would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both, according to the orders.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a stay-at-home order for residents, effective immediately and without a stated expiration date. It includes exceptions for residents to go out and get necessities such as food or prescriptions, and for those who work in one of 16 so-called critical sectors.

Newsom said that local officials may enforce their own public health orders that are stricter than the statewide order.

Constitutional right to assembly

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly and the right to petition the government.

Even though the social distancing measures being imposed on the public would seem to impact the right to assembly, some are predicting that the measures would stand up in court.

James Hodge, an Arizona State University law professor, pointed to the government’s broad powers during a public health crisis. Lawsuits would only have a chance of success if they’re challenging “a truly egregious practice,” Hodge said, according to an article in ABA Journal, an American Bar Association publication.

Another law school professor drew a distinction between the quarantine of an infected person and the widespread stay-at-home orders being issued in the Bay area. The latter will likely face a court challenge, said Lawrence Gostin, a professor who specializes in public health law at Georgetown University.

An “en masse” quarantine or a lockdown impinges on “the most fundamental constitutional rights and the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of travel,” Gostin said in an interview with National Public Radio.

In contrast, a quarantine order for someone with COVID-19 who is a risk to the public would likely seem more justified, he said.

Enforcing quarantines to stop the spread of disease would likely be considered an appropriate use of a state’s police powers, according to Damon Root, a senior editor who focuses on law, politics and history at Reason, a libertarian magazine.

The key questions are whether an order serves a genuine public health or safety purpose; and whether the order is the least restrictive way to accomplish that purpose, Root said in an article published last week.

No expiration date

Another issue is how long the order lasts.

“An emergency measure that was perfectly justifiable yesterday may become constitutionally suspect tomorrow,” he wrote. “Things change and it is paramount to return to a normal footing as soon as the crisis has lessened or passed.”

Harvard Law School Professor Glenn Cohen said there have been a number of cases on public health and states’ police powers, but the cases are old and the law on the issue is “vague and uncertain.”

Governments taken to court over their coronavirus orders would need to show a compelling reason for their action and that their measures were not overly broad, Cohen told Stat News, a medical news website.

Local officials said they aren’t expecting to be issuing citations regarding the public health orders anytime soon. In a frequently asked questions article on the coronavirus, the city of Palo Alto said criminal enforcement of health orders would be an “absolute last resort” for the police department.

45 Comments

  1. The bottom line is that politicians like Newsom feel their right to order us around exceeds any rights we have guaranteed to us by the constitution. They know we won’t fight back because their propaganda has made us fearful.

    • The politicians and so-called health experts have created and exacerbated the fear by hyping the covid-19 out of proportion. See the following real experts on Covid-19 in the Off-Guardian on March 28: 10 MORE Experts Criticising the Coronavirus Panic. Go to off-guardian.org. A previous article had 12 health and medical experts on the same topic. Why are their voices being stifled? Why is there no debate about the issues? No debate allowed. If you criticize the official position, you are ignored or maligned. The globalist agenda seems to be making inroads under cover of this virus tale. This whole affair will go down in ignominy for all the ages.

    • I completely agree! Newsome has over-reached by far — affecting millions of people who aren’t sick. What happened to their rights? And, where does this end? He has left the order open-ended. That is a dangerous, slippery slope. Fascism on the cusp? We will see.

  2. I agree. Although right now it is about public safety. The problem is that the mandate is overly broad and unlimited for now. An example is the closing of the beach parking lots. The one I use is empty most of the time this time of year. I like to surf alone, so no problem social-distancing. If crowds come on nice weekend days, the beach staff could close the lots when they get too busy and remind people to keep their distance. But with this full day, every day closing, people will just jam up other streets and parking lots. PS- And, just to be petty, how about refunds or extensions for the folks who bought parking passes from Pacifica?

    • Such rules are not written for individual freedoms, but for the welfare of the community. You might not abuse it, but others certainly will. And once you’re outside your door, you’re subject to circumstances beyond your control. Since law enforcement (LE) can’t be everywhere at all times, and since *most* people abide by the social contract that holds the public welfare paramount, such rules maximizes the public surface that LE has to police, and the likely scope of exposure to a minimum.

      Nobody wants to surrender (or have taken) their protected liberties. But public safety is not a trivial thing. Still, the primary thing people SHOULD be concerned with are the terms and conditions for enactment and duration.

  3. So now we let the government pick and choose when they can make people stay home? Sorry this is a slippery slope. This is how we lose our freedoms. All in the name of safety. We don’t shut the country down during flu season. Well, maybe we do from now on, then maybe we shut it down because of mass shootings then little by little your rights are eroded.

    • Yes, many people die from the flu every year. But your argument is specious. Try asking, why is COVID-19 different? Unlike seasonal flu, for which there is a vaccine to protect against infection, there is no vaccine for COVID-19.

      Both seasonal flu viruses (which include influenza A and influenza B viruses) and COVID-19 are contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness. The new coronavirus causing COVID-19 has led to more than 454,000 illnesses and more than 20,550 deaths worldwide, so far. While seasonal flu in the U.S. has impacted more people in total, it comes on quickly, people frequently self-isolate or seek care sooner because we feel poorly before it becomes an infection risk.

      Scientists have studied seasonal flu for decades. So, despite the danger of it, we know a lot about flu viruses and what to expect each season. In contrast, very little is known about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, dubbed COVID-19, because it’s so new. This means COVID-19 is something of a wild card in terms of how far it will spread and how many deaths it will cause.

      So far this flu season, about 1% of people in the United States have developed symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized. And the overall hospitalization rate in the U.S. this season is 61 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. The death rate from seasonal flu is typically around 0.1% in the U.S., according to The New York Times. Though the death rate for COVID-19 is unclear, most research suggests it is much higher than that of the seasonal flu.

      A report published March 13 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases adjusted for the potential time delay between hospitalization and death among cases in China. The authors estimated that, as of Feb. 11, the death rate from COVID-19 was as high as 12% in Wuhan, 4% in Hubei Province and 0.9% in the rest of China.

      If the total world population is 7.1 billion people, and 12% become critically ill, that’s 852 million people who could die, globally. There were only a little over 327 million Americans total, in 2018. If 12% (or more – 12% were with controls in place) of everyone dies because some could ill afford some temporary inconvenience, who is going to make your latte?

      Let’s see – wages will go up (supply and demand), unemployment will go down, there will be fewer people drawing on Congress’ slush fund (Social Security) because many of those in retirement probably won’t survive either. Even if you are fortunate enough to survive, maybe your parents lost the last 10-15 years of their lives? Possibly even your children, if they lack the discipline to endure the present.

      Think about that, and then complain about your current circumstances. I enjoy my freedoms too. But I also think that it important that we close ranks and do what is necessary to keep this from becoming a global nightmare before we have the tools and drugs to keep it in check like we do with influenza.

      • Well first of all, there is a vaccine for only 60 to 70% of all strains of influenza. The doctors tell you that quite clearly when you get a flu shot every year. So do we close down the whole country because there’s a 30% chance you may not be protected from the flu? Do older people and people with compromised immune systems not get seriously ill or die each year from the regular flu? The government officials are way over reaching their powers. This is not an authoritarian country

        • Ms. Heller,

          You are correct that we do not live under an authoritarian regime. However, you seem to have a problem with the notion that anyone (including elected leaders at the state and federal level) has the ‘authority’ to make decisions for the public good, even when they require temporarily suspending constitutionally protected rights in order to preserve the common good. And yet, such provisions exist.

          You seem to be choosing to ignore the clearly articulated differences between that which is well known (Influenza A, B), and that which is not well known, and thus is not as controllable, with data that indicates that the morbidity rate could well exceed those of the flu you’re so comfortable with. Yes, our government is taking extraordinary measures in response to what appears to be extraordinary circumstances. Is there something about ‘extra-ordinary’ that is not clear to you? Why do you think the provisions that enable government leaders to take such measures even exist? Or do you simply think the continuous exercise of your 1st Amendment privileges is more paramount than making sure that others survive long enough to enjoy them too?

          Just checking…

          • J.M. Schneider: Has it ever occurred to you that in this case the “cure” is obviously much worse than the disease? The entire global economy is shutting down; the US economy is being literally destroyed. 10 million people have applied for unemployment. Small business will never recover. How are people going to feed their families and pay their rent? The government response is all out of proportion, especially when many health experts state that the Covid-19 does not necessitate such extreme measures. See the Off-Guardian.org on March 28: 10 MORE Experts Criticising the Coronavirus Panic; an earlier article included 12 experts. Their arguments are never heard. No debate is allowed. We are all just supposed to believe whatever the government bullies tell us. So, it seems you drank the kool-aid. Do your own research. We are being lied to. Nothing new about that, is there?

            • Regarding the economy, a very simple truth requires recognition; dead and very sick people are not able to work. Yes, the 1st Amendment does clearly provide the right to assemble, etc. Get over it. In the case of a national emergency such as presented by the Covid-19 virus the rights of law abiding citizens to protect themselves (and others) supersedes the desires of the few who appear to not give a rat’s patootie to the general health of the population. The sooner this virus spread can be curtailed the sooner the economy can be restarted. And that requires curtailing the spread of the virus.

              • Dead and very sick people are not able to work??? A few thousand people out of 12 million in a state are hardly applicable to the utter nonsense you keep spreading on here. 80% of all people getting this disease have minor symptoms or none at all! They are able to work just fine. We have “medical experts” telling us that a ventilator they don’t have is an unnecessary fatality that could have been avoided one week and now this week they’re rethinking using ventilators altogether in most cases since 80%+ are DYING when they use them (New York). A new article suggests this virus rarely causes pneumonia, but rather it resembles altitude sickness (i.e. carbon dioxide removal is normal while oxygen transference to red blood cells is reduced). The “rule book” for ventilator use says <92% blood oxygen, knock them out with sedation and hook them up. They then die a couple of weeks later…. The article suggests the best solution for 80% of the hospitalization cases (based on early testing) is a simple oxygen mask to increase the oxygen amount while breathing is typically normal. This could save 80% more patients instead of murdering them with archaic ignorance about a virus they know almost nothing about.

                We have a hyper partisanship atmosphere where anything the President says is then spun by certain left-leaning mass media organizations to be the worst advice ever given (witness the mention of Hydrochloroquine that would have gotten much positive attention if Trump had not endorsed its use. That then makes it the enemy of the Left and so we see every article imaginable DEMONIZING it without merit. While it's not "proven" in the traditional sense, early testing looks promising and given its well known side effects and previous approved use, one could think the logic would be better to try than die. It's probably more effective given early, but the use thus far has been far more scrutinized to not work in late disease progression cases where it's less effective. So why the hyper negative spin? IF that has a chance at getting us out of this monumental DISASTER waiting to happen for the economy that may end up making the Great Depression look like a walk in the park, so much the better! But no, it's better to attack the President in hope of getting him out of office than actually CARE about whether real people live or die!

                So excuse me when I don't buy the responses about who knows what's best when it's clear the medical establishment doesn't have a clue what they're dealing with. The death toll numbers even in Italy are minuscule compared to the overall population of Italy (like 0.002% the last time I looked) and yet the mass media would have you almost convinced 20% of the population was dead by now the way they present it! I remember a year when Shark attacks were all over the news all summer long! You had the impression sharks were going crazy for some reason attacking so many people. Then an expert came on and said it was an average year, but for some reason the media had nothing else to cover so they decided somehow to focus on every single shark attack that they didn't bother reporting in most other summers.

                MEDIA CREATES HYSTERIA! PERIOD. What make them the most money is getting your attention so they can feed ads on every break. They literally survive like a parasite on you devouring their "news". What could keep you glued to your set more than a pandemic that causes the ENTIRE WORLD to lockdown (except Sweden which is doing oddly well compared to other countries like France and Spain considering they refuse to lockdown everything).

                Then there's the matter of when did this virus REALLY arrive? With no testing available, most cases would have been written off as the flu in December or January, yet at my workplace alone, we had over a dozen people get "the flu" in January with all the Coronavirus symptoms. I'm in Ohio. It shouldn't have been there, but I'm betting antibody testing will reveal otherwise soon. More importantly, no one is dead at my workplace. No one is over 70 working there either…. And I keep working because someone had to keep your essential services going. Do I get hazard pay? Of course not. You get to hide in your basement with your head in the crapper, while I get to go to work like normal and risk my life (if I actually believed the hysteria).

                What we have is a disease that doesn't spread anywhere near as bad as the flu (450 million cases of the Flu versus 1.3 million cases for Corona so far this year alone), but "seems" to kill more (possibly due to using ventilators instead of oxygen masks in 80% of the cases where the former is more dangerous by far). But the numbers don't justify the actions. The current predictions are for 60k deaths in the US. That's 20K less than the 2018 Flu in the US and NO ONE put that all over the news 24/7 or shut down a darn thing!!! So we're destroying our economy for WHAT, exactly??? I hate to think those 1990s New World Order conspiracy theories could be remotely true, but I have to admit the response to this "pandemic" seems to be following the playbooks those theories predicted page by page by page.

                You have governors ordering people to be fined or jailed for going to a 2nd house they own in Michigan (even if they're the only occupant and cannot infect ANYONE there). WTF does THAT have to do with anything? The orders are so vague, so nebulous and so unfocused one wonders if the governors of Ohio and Michigan just sit around thinking of what they can close next to just say they're doing something! I hear it's dog grooming places in Ohio next! WTF does dog grooming (one person, one dog) got to do with ANY THING!?!?!? We're breaking Constitutional guarantees like freedom of travel/assembly because Fido might get the virus from the dog groomer??? They say the dog can't transmit it and we allow grocery shopping still, so WTF is the point of that!? Tell me because I'd love to know. Don't make up horse crap like your previous posts.

                I have yet to see there is any "emergency" going on let alone one that JUSTIFIES taking away every civil liberty imaginable, killing jobs, losing homes, losing life savings and causing massive hysteria and depression! For WHAT?!? Because 4% of people over 80 might die a few years earlier than they would have otherwise??? That's not justification for the Flu and so it sure as hell shouldn't be here either! 0.1% deaths maximum is not significant enough to destroy our country and everything it stands for! Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." You should read those words and remember them. The COWARDS that are afraid to leave their houses to defend their own rights as Americans should be ashamed of themselves!

          • so is that why an Illinois mayor called for a shelter in place order then went and got her hair done illegally ,,,, because shes so much smarter than the rest of us

      • You logic is flawed at first those may have been the project percent of the population, but not now not at all global estimates are at 65,000 total death yet no change in the status of the lock downs it is very much overreacting act. Numbers of deaths in the United States are on the neighborhood of %0.0074 24,000 death over 323,000,000 population. Yet nothing has changed.

    • The term “Freedom” has become a relative term. To be ordered to stay at home and limit my ability to travel freely poses a question of whether the stay at home order is nothing more than “house arrest.” With more than 40,000 deaths involving motor vehicle accidents in 2017, over 39.000 in 2018, and over 38,000 in 2019 there is nothing to stop people from driving. This does not take in consideration the nearly 4.4 million people seriously from car wrecks. An in agreement with you, allowing the government to decide when to institute a “stay-at-home” order opens a Pandora’s box. Currently, one county in Colorado has barred anyone not residing in the county to enter the county or face a $5.000 or a year and a half jail sentence. Another county has closed all county roads to people no residing in the county. As I mentioned, freedom is a relative term.

  4. I live in Maine and our Governor closed ten areas of which one is Fort Baldwin. Fort Baldwin is never busy because it’s basically unknown and the parking lot can handle at most 10 cars, although I’ve never seen more than a handful.

    My point is our leaders are treating us like children. The Constitution isn’t something to be taken lightly and closing anything in a state of fewer than a million people (it’s still winter here and we are getting snow tomorrow) who typically practice social distancing nine months of every year is suspect.

    California too has rural areas and treating the entire state like LA is not just dumb it’s a violation of the first amendment and various SCOTUS rulings.

  5. While everyone is in a panic about the coronavirus (COVID-19), there’s an even deadlier virus many people are forgetting about: the flu.
    Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the US. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000. The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, with 210,000 to 370,000 flu sufferers hospitalized because of the flu virus.
    https://www.health.com/condition/cold-flu-sinus/how-many-people-die-of-the-flu-every-year

    Everyone gets sick when they get the flu…That is not the case with COVIOD-19. Most people do not even know they have it.
    And nothing got shut down because of it…
    Also, these unlawful lock downs and forced business closing violate your rights.
    Specifically the 1st, 5th & 14th amendments .
    If your rights can be taken away by politicians that fold to the media mob, they really aren’t rights are they.
    Stalin & Mao must be smiling.

    • We may agree to disagree, the US Constitution trumps all man-made laws and regulations. Our Freedom and Liberty is our bedrock. Again you may disagree, but the argument in favor to suspend our rights is based on subjective facts on comparing COVID-19 to other viruses; comparing a board power to shutdown a state to a specific power to quarantine an infected individual (not a community or state on uninfected individuals). The court must prove your endangerment — and they cannot. We cannot convict or deny based on a hypothetical of what the individual ‘might’ do. To move otherwise is too much of a slippery slow. If they are allowed with this virus, what about the next. What is the exact criteria to say shutdown on this, but not on the other. IF we Americans believe we should allow elected officials to hold individuals without warrant for a length of time undetermined for a scientific undefined risk on an uninfected community then we would REQUIRE a Constitutional Convention to ‘attempt’ an amendment. Why a harsh line? Because ‘we’ the people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must realize unlawfully forcing the people to stay home directly shuts down our economy and our right to exist, and our future. It is too sophomoric and foolish to not recognize these undeniable connected consequence. It is so much larger than simple ‘stay home’.

      • Sir,

        Yes, I fear we do disagree.

        First, the Constitution of the United States is itself, a ‘man-made’ document, which describes each of the roles and responsibilities of the arms of the government and citizens, while the Bill of rights describes the rights and freedom of the people. Both function together in meeting the need for the *common* welfare (that means ‘everybody’).

        Second, the court need not prove anything. The government is empowered to act in the interest of the common good (since they represent everyone), and if any citizen feels they have been unduly infringed, the burden of argument falls to the injured party to make a case for relief. Under our current form of government, and in the current circumstances, you (and others, individually or in concert) would need to prove your case (called making an argument) that the government has exceeded its authority to act in the common interest, and/or that its actions are not, in fact, in the common interest, and you would be required to effectively demonstrate that argument. Arguments based upon personal inconvenience or weak sophistry will confidently fall upon deaf ears.

        Although I too remain distrustful of our current federal leadership, because the courts remains available to the citizenry, the executive branch cannot declare martial law. Your fearmongering about being deprived of guaranteed liberties fails the basic test of life within the ‘social contract’, which sets forth the notion that we (collectively) agree to act in the best interest of the society in which we dwell. When emergent conditions exist and the free exercise of personal liberties endangers the public welfare, government is well within its prerogative to act precipitously to ensure and preserve public safety.

        If these points elude you, or you disagree with their accuracy, then perhaps you should spend your free time volunteering in the local emergency room.

        • OK, So the Government forces us to do things which take away our rights, but it’s up to me to prove I was injured by it? You sound like a flaming liberal. You are so full of crap, I smell you coming before I see you. IDIOT! Go work for a Animal Control Shelter. As far as your pat on the back for my working for a Emergency room, I am guessing you do and think that because you see death and destruction that in some manner gives your opinions more credibility. Well pre’tel, I was in VietNam for 2 years and feel I know what death and dis-memberment is all about! Flaming Liberal!

  6. “even deadlier virus”

    Even though every metric available says that the CFR of COVID-19 is worse than the seasonal flu? Just because it’s killed more, because it’s had more time to establish itself, doesn’t make it deadlier. The potential for viral pneumonia is significantly higher with Coronavirus compared to influenza virus.

    And no, most people who get COVID-19 aren’t asymptomatic. They do exist, but it isn’t the norm. And when the WHO and CDC say “mild cases”, what they mean are cases that don’t require medical intervention. But most cases are rather severe compared to the flu.

    I won’t speak to the whole Constitutional aspect as I probably agree with you there, but don’t be fooled into thinking this virus is just the common cold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J0d59dd-qM

    • There is no telling how many people are carry the virus that never show symptoms or only have symptoms so mild they are never tested because of the limited number of tests, but the simple fact of how fast it spread across the entire country means that many, many more people have been carriers than have actually been identified cases.

    • At the risk of being melodramatic – The dead have no freedoms. Which sounds a lot like something a monarch might say. However, the freedoms we are assured come to us under ideal circumstances, which current events most certainly are not. Best to survive the approaching storm and live to complain another day. Else, who will complain for you?

  7. Tyrants always demand that we surrender our freedom for the sake of safety. These governors who act like tyrants should lose their job in the next election. I wonder if the citizens in our states today would have risked their lives to gain our freedom as those who were inspired by Patrick Henry did.

  8. According to the data website worldometers.info, here are the causes of death of people around the world from January 1 through March 25th.

    Coronavirus, 21,000 deaths.

    Seasonal flu, 113,000.

    Malaria, 228,000.

    Suicide, 249,000.

    Traffic fatalities, 314,000.

    HIV/AIDS, 391,000.

    Alcohol related deaths, 581,000.

    Smoking-related deaths, 1,162,000.
    
Cancer deaths, 1,909,000.

    Starvation, 2,382,000.

    Nuff said.

    • Actually, most of those are the results of poor choices at the individual level, not the result of an inadvertent intersection with someone else who involuntarily transmitted an biological infection they may or may not have been aware of.

      • I get the impression, J.M. Schneider, that you are from the government and are here to help. Why do you glibly believe everything the government authorities are parroting to stir up fear? Do you actually believe their statistics about the death rate of the virus? Many health and medical experts disagree with the government’s official position, but their voices are not allowed to be heard in any kind of real debate. The MSM as usual is hysterical about the virus and doing their level best to scare everyone out of their wits. There are a lot of educated people in Silicon Valley. Why is everyone falling for this coronavirus novel?

  9. My whole problem is what isn’t anything being done about China’s Wet Markets? Corona virus, Swine flu, Bird flu and many other viruses all came out of them! Instead of locking America down the Wet Markets need to be shut down for good! Just a matter of time until something worst the Corona virus will come out of those markets! The World need to boycott everything from China…Nothing in and nothing out until the Wet Markets are closed and stay closed!!

  10. Who knows how long this will last? I can expect alot of pushback by citizens and businesses if they extend the guidelines past April 30. People will go bankrupt and small businesses, the backbone of this country, will close down. I hate to say this but most of the people who have died from Covid-19 were elderly and/or had underlying health issues, and probably would have died anyway from any other serious medical issue like the flu or pneumonia. Nature’s way of cleansing the population.

  11. This is a test to see how far the Government can go to control Americans. Anyone that thinks otherwise isn’t seeing the bigger picture. They will likely try to extend this. Meanwhile, most hospitals in the Bay Area aren’t “overrun” by corona virus. The media and government are lying and exaggerating the cases. The question is, what are we going to do about it?!

  12. I won’t debate you since no words would sway you. I disagree with the slippery logic you have sowed. The Section 8 common welfare clause has been deliberately mis-interpreted by those who desire a malleable or living Constitution, changeable for the times and greater Federal government. The ‘common good’ is as bogus and dangerous concept as one could argue for an unlimited Federal power over anything desired. They had left that tyranny. Clearly that was neither what the Founding Fathers said nor meant. I would imagine those that submit to this worrisome belief that only a Federal government can protect and trespass our individual rights also believe in the equally flawed derived ‘collective rights’ also used to usurp the Constitution. And second, the Bill of Rights are NOT man-made. These are clearly stated as God-inspired words indicating as our rights from God. From Locke, to Paine, to Jefferson that point is clear. Our God-fearing Founders realized whatever Government we desired must be embedded in fact that no Government, no law and no regulation shall infringe upon this fact. So our Constitution is not man-made in the context you delivered. However Courts are man-made and judicial principles like writ of habeas corpus may be perverted by men — but it does not trump the Bill of Rights. And in this keeping with these same rights, you certainly can disagree. The point I say again, if we the people want to give the Federal Government the overall right to suspend our natural and God-given individual rights; then I recommend mine and your point of views to be debated in the bright lights of the American people and Constitutional Convention. Some prefer Socialism; I do not. The final ‘trust’ is with the American people. The terms ‘Liberty’ and ‘Freedom’ are much too important to gloss over when others panic.

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