Article IV, Section 4, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution states, “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.” A republican form of government is one in which the ultimate lawmaking power resides in representatives elected by the people.
However, in the name of combating the coronavirus pandemic, state governors, mayors, and unelected health officials have ruled by decree, curtailing freedoms in the process. Due process eroded as these officials took away the livelihood of their residents, restricted people’s freedom to travel, forbade religious gatherings in places of worship, and threatened to put people in jail who refused to abide by city and state orders to stay at home.
On April 20, 2020, The New York Times reported, “at least 316 million people in at least 42 states, three counties, nine cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico [were] urged to stay home.” That’s over 90 percent of the total U.S. population!
Although blatant lockdowns are over, many restrictions remain. These include mask mandates, vaccine passports, vaccine mandates, and limits on certain public gatherings. Furthermore, governors, mayors, and unelected public health officials across the country continue to hold far too much power, with few checks.
Beginning in March 2020, every state in the country enacted COVID restrictions, some more draconian than others and usually without the legislature’s consent – but all of them violating the U.S. Constitution and, in many cases, state constitutions in some way. As an example of states quickly acting to impose draconian restrictions, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-25-20 authorized certain agencies to “if necessary” exercise “the State’s power to commandeer property – hotels and other places of temporary residence, medical facilities, and other facilities that are suitable for use as places of temporary residence or medical facilities as necessary for quarantining, isolating, or treating individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who have a high-risk exposure and are thought to be in the incubation period.” (Emphasis added).
Following the COVID’s introduction into the United States, most states, along with local governments, enacted mask mandates by executive decrees. These mandates failed to stop the virus’s spread. In addition to these restrictions, multiple states enacted travel restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling domestically, state and local governments attempted to limit family holiday gatherings, and states are developing vaccination mandates to travel or engage in economic activity. Some state regulators moved to make these restrictions permanent. Even “red” states enacted draconian restrictions, with many Republican governors also ruling by executive decree.
Many of the state gubernatorial decrees created arbitrary, nonsensical rules – including Michigan’s ban of gardening supplies while allowing lottery sales, Florida’s designation of wrestling as an “essential” activity, and California’s recommendation that people wear masks “between bites” in restaurants – and enacted disproportionate punishments in relation to the “crime” of disobeying the orders. Similar incidents occurred on the local government level. Multiple governors even enacted bans on religious services and sought to shut down churches. In New York, the governor imposed stringent regulations against Christians and Jews, but not Muslims.
Some officials have pushed back. For example, Pennsylvania voters enacted two constitutional amendments limiting the governor’s COVID powers. Additionally, multiple state legislatures and governors enacted prohibitions on vaccine passports in their respective states. Some state legislatures acted to regain the powers they had delegated to state bureaucrats. Furthermore, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down multiple COVID orders signed by Governor Tony Evers and other officials, and other state and federal judges have ruled against the constitutionality of various state restrictions, including anti-church restrictions in Colorado, California, and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Supreme Court also acted in several cases to strike down certain COVID-19 restrictions.
Each usurpation of power needs to be met with the appropriate constitutional solutions. This is also true at the state level. Take the opportunity to review your state constitution to see what your state legislature can do to be a check on your state’s draconian measures.
We encourage you to read and share The New American magazine’s Special Report (cover date of April 20, 2020) about the coronavirus. Click the image above for a FREE digital PDF version of the issue. You can also purchase physical print copies of this issue, for as low as $1.95 when purchasing in bulk or $3.95 for an individual copy, at ShopJBS. The cover story, “Coronavirus: Freedom Is the Cure,” written by Dennis Behreandt examines how governments around the world are trying to stop the coronavirus by curbing the market and stopping the lives of hundreds of millions of people, although they shouldn’t. The article entitled, “Your Papers Please,” also by Dennis Behreandt, addresses how in the name of fighting the coronavirus, liberty is being destroyed all across the West. And the article, “The Viral Assault on Our Rights,” by Luis Miguel, looks at how fear and panic have pushed individualistic Americans into practically begging the government to take away their rights.
We also encourage you to watch “Overview of America” – a 30-minute video that offers a straight forward explanation about how our unique system of government should work and how America became great. After watching it, share it with others. You can do so by hosting a “watch party” over the internet. This simple action will educate others about the proper limitations of government and it is what The John Birch Society has been doing for over 60 year.
It was President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in a letter to William Charles Jarvis, on September 28, 1820: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
We also encourage you and others to join The John Birch Society in take part in our concerted education-action program to educate the American people. Even under shelter-in-place orders, you can still host make phone calls, utilize social media, and host video conferences to help wake up more Americans and enlist them in the fight to keep our Republic and stop the abuses of government tyranny.
Although we provide a way to easily email legislators, we know from long experience that it takes a lot more interaction with your legislators to get your point across than that provided by emails alone.
That's why we provide an easy way not only to email them, but to contact them by phone, tweet, and even video message them.