In Oceanside, California, gym owner Lou Uridel was arrested for opening his business in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home order. Upon being released, he has continued to defy the order by re-opening the gym. The police department stated that it plans to cite Uridel for each day the gym remains in operation. The maximum penalty for each citation is $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.
Reportedly, police told Uridel that they would arrest every customer if he reopened his gym. However, after consulting with his lawyer, he was advised that police did not have the power to do that, and so he decided to re-open this past Wednesday.
“There’s some members who kind of shy away from that and there’s some members who say, you know what, if they’re going to take me away in handcuffs for working out, then they can go ahead and do it,” Uridel said.
Salute to everyone who falls into the second category and is willing to take a stand against government overreach.
Politico has a good article outlining the lawsuits that have been filed all around the country against various states’ COVID-19 lockdown orders. Here are some examples:
- In California there have been numerous lawsuits filed against Governor Gavin Newsom for his closures of gun stores, churches, gyms, yoga studios, hair salons, and beaches, ban on protests, and the stay-at-home order in its entirety. In one example, LA County resident Samuel Armstrong sued the state, arguing (correctly, in my opinion) that the order amounts to detention without due process of law, thereby violating the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who represents the plaintiffs in several of these lawsuits, said, “We do not shut down our highways because people die in car accidents. We do not ban commerce because people die of lung disease after buying cigarettes.”
- In Kentucky, four protesters sued Governor Andy Beshear, arguing that the state’s restrictions on protests violate the First Amendment. Another lawsuit focusing on the ban of church services was upheld by a federal court.
- In Maine, a group of business owners sued Governor Janet Mills over her stay-at-home order.
- In Maryland, a group of business owners, religious leaders, and state delegates sued Governor Larry Hogan, asking for a restraining order preventing enforcement of the state’s lockdown.
- In Ohio, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law sued Governor Mike DeWine over his closure of non-essential businesses. More recently, this organization filed another lawsuit on behalf of 35 independent gym owners, who are still not permitted to open, despite the fact that the government has begun to lift restrictions.
- In Pennsylvania, a group of business owners sued Governor Tom Wolf over the closure of non-essential businesses in a lawsuit that made it all the way to the Supreme Court.
- In Texas, activist and lawyer Jared Woodfill has sued Governor Greg Abbott, arguing that the state’s lockdown order violates the Texas and U.S. Constitutions. Additionally, State Attorney General Ken Paxton has threatened to sue the governments of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio if they do not lift their strict stay-at-home measures.
- And of course, in Wisconsin, a great victory took place this past Wednesday when the state Supreme Court struck down as “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable” the stay-at-home order enacted by Governor Tony Evers and Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm. “Where in the Constitution did the people of Wisconsin confer the authority on a single unelected cabinet secretary to compel almost 6 million people to stay at home and close their businesses and face imprisonment if they don’t comply? With no input from the legislature, without the consent of the people? Isn’t it the very definition of tyranny for one person to order people to be imprisoned for going to work among other ordinarily lawful activities?” asked Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley.
Salute to all of the plaintiffs, lawyers, and judges taking the side of freedom and individual rights.