Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano is no fan of COVID-19 exploitation. (YouTube, Fox News)
Has the time come for massive civil disobedience as the public has grown weary—and wary—of the continued shutdowns and, in states such as Washington, a reopening process that is moving along at a snail’s pace while some critics accuse public officials of moving the goal posts?
That seems to be what Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano suggested Wednesday, according to RealClearPolitics.
“Civil disobedience is probably the next step if these governors do not come to a sense of reason…because the authority that they are enacting is absolutely illegitimate,” Napolitano warned, as he spoke to commentator Tucker Carlson.
It’s already happening, in New Jersey, where a gym operator re-opened his business, and Washington, where Attorney General Bob Ferguson will use legal action to force small business operators to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s tedious lifting of sanctions, and was listed by the Seattle P-I.com as “among states with most restrictions still in place due to coronavirus.”
On the other side of the argument, the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, National Rifle Association and other groups have filed a series of federal or state lawsuits challenging closures of gun stores and shooting ranges in some states while federal lawsuits in North Carolina and Georgia were filed over pistol permit application problems. Federal actions have also been filed in California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, forcing officials to re-open gun shops.
In the North Carolina case, SAF, FPC and Grassroots North Carolina sued Wake County Sheriff Gerald M. Baker for refusing to accept new applications for pistol purchase permits or concealed handgun permits.
In Georgia, SAF and FPC sued Gov. Brian Kemp and Cherokee County Probate Judge Keith Wood and others in federal court for not accepting new applications for carry licenses during the coronavirus outbreak.
Napolitano’s contention is that the United States “is turning into a police state and civil disobedience is on the horizon if governors do not come to their senses with civil liberties.”
Excuses for slowing down the national recovery become increasingly lame when, as the Daily Mail is reporting, “More than 500 doctors signed a letter to President Trump calling the state coronavirus lockdowns a ‘mass casualty event’ causing ‘millions of casualties’ from alcoholism, homelessness, suicide and other causes.”
Although the report says the physicians who signed the letter “appears to have been set up with the assistance of a Republican public relations firm in Washington D.C.,” it still raises serious questions about the slow return to normal, whatever that may be from now on.
Writing at Reason.com, Jacob Sullum observes, “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials have imposed unprecedented restrictions on our liberties and livelihoods, acting on the assumption that they can do whatever they think is necessary to protect the public from a potentially deadly disease. The courts, which were initially reluctant to second-guess state responses to COVID-19, are beginning to recognize that public health powers, while broad, are not a blank check.”
Napolitano has also written a “What if” Op-ed that raises even more questions, some of them chilling.
“What if the government wants to stoke fear in the populace because mass fear produces mass compliance,” the former New Jersey judge asks. “What if individual fear reduces individual immunity?
“What if — when the pandemic is over — the government remains tyrannical,” Napolitano continues. “What if — when the pandemic is over — folks sue the government for its destruction of life, liberty and property only to learn that the government gave itself immunity from such lawsuits? What if — when the pandemic is over — the government refuses to acknowledge its end?”
What if, indeed?