A Missouri judge for a state circuit court ruled last week that public health restrictions put in place with the stated purpose of stopping the spread of COVID-19 infections are illegal.
Circuit Court Judge Daniel R. Green wrote that rules enacted by local officials were grabs for an “incredible power to coerce subjects into submission.” Green added that schools and public spaces should not “fear arbitrary closure” because of the whims of public health officials.
The ruling focused on orders for quarantines and business closures that violate the Missouri state constitution’s clause declaring the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government.
The Missouri constitution expressly declares that each branch of state government must be “confined to a separate magistracy.” It goes on to say that no person authorized to act in one addition of government may exercise any power “properly belonging to one of the others.”
Judge Green wrote that the case, Robinson v. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, is about whether the department can “abolish representative government” when enacting public health laws and whether the department can lawfully close a school or general assembly based on an opinion issued by an unelected official. Green found that the department does not have that power.
Green found that the legislature may not legally delegate rulemaking power to an administrative office because such delegations unlawfully combine the management of the legislative and executive branches.
The lawsuit giving rise to the ruling was filed last year during lockdowns ordered by city and county administrators in and around St. Louis.
In ruling against administrative agencies which enacted unlawful rules, Green stated that health agencies throughout the state have exercised “unbridled and unfettered” personally claimed authority to legislate effectively. Because the rules amount to legislation, he said that the challenged regulations are “constitutionally prohibited.”
Jeffrey Tucker of the Brownstone Institute posted a tweet last week stating that Judge Green’s decision is devastating for the bad guys who did all this to us.”