Governors Can’t Use Coronavirus To Indefinitely Declare A State Of Emergency

Article author: 
Molly McCann
Article publisher: 
The Federalist
Article date: 
14 August 2020
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia often noted that the primary safeguard of our constitutional liberties is the structure of our government. Every banana republic has a bill of rights, he once said, but the strength of the American system is the separation of powers.
At the federal level, there are three separate, co-equal branches of government that must operate together for our representative republic to function properly, and this balance of power is mirrored at the state level. Unhappily, our system today is not functioning as designed.
Since March, the separation of powers has been off-kilter, shifted disproportionately to state executives, who are ruling outside the boundaries of their proper authority. In a moment of national panic, Americans permitted their state and local executives to take power—to declare states of emergency and to implement lockdowns—and now those executives won’t give that power back.
Legally, the executives are operating pursuant to their “emergency powers.... Although it varies by state, this authority is typically quite broad....
Every state legislature can define these powers differently and include specific limitations. In Virginia, the legislature inserted a provision that no emergency action by the governor could “limit or prohibit” the right to keep and bear arms.
That is why a gun range in Virginia was able to sue earlier this year and win an injunction that permitted it to reopen during the height of the lockdown....
Most state statutes automatically terminate emergency authority after a 30- or 60-day period, unless specifically extended by the governor...
Where they are empowered to do so, state legislatures must begin to declare the emergency at an end, rebuke the governors’ power grabs, and recalibrate the allocation of power to its proper balance among the branches....

Unfortunately, rather than reclaiming authority from governors, many state legislatures right now are fighting over which branch gets to decide how to spend the federal dollars states are receiving in emergency aid....

It is high time to end the tyranny of the executives.


Invasion of the New Normals, by C.J. Hopkins, Unz Review, August 9, 2020.
America's Founders - And Our Lockdown - How would they respond today?, by Jack Kerwick, FrontPage Mag, August 12, 2020.
We Need a Principled Anti-Lockdown Movement, by Jeffrey A. Tucker, American Institute for Economic Research, August 9, 2020.
Can Politicians Prove Their COVID-19 Lockdown Was Justified?, Canada Free Press, September 16, 2020.
Governments Will Impose New Lockdowns If They Think They Can Get Away with It, by Ryan McMaken,, Lew Rockwell, September 18, 2020.

Overturning COVID restrictions and states of emergency, Canada Free Press, September 17, 2020:

In Pennsylvania, a federal judge just ruled that Governor Wolf’s COVID containment measures are unconstitutional. The judge went further. NO emergency cancels the Constitution. There is a line that cannot be crossed. The right to assemble, to have freedom of movement, to earn a living—-they can’t be wiped off the board by lockdowns for ANY reason.

This is, indeed, a heroic ruling. It affirms the unmistakable rays of light emanating from the basis of the American Republic..