In times of disease, war, or other extraordinary circumstances, governors are permitted to bypass the legislative process and implement emergency orders by declaring a state of emergency. During this pandemic, however, we’ve seen our state leaders abuse this power, especially in California. Thankfully, three organizations have jointly filed a lawsuit against Governor Newsom’s seemingly endless state of emergency, according to a press release from Advocates for Faith and Freedom.
Newsom first announced his emergency proclamation in March 2020. Earlier this month, he issued an executive order extending the state of emergency for the third time through March 2022. For nearly two years, the governor has granted himself the ability to enact sweeping changes dictating the daily lives of Californians. In doing so, he has implemented mask and vaccine requirements in public places, including for our children in K-12 schools. His tyrannical rule is an attack on parental rights and sets a dangerous precedent not only for California, but for states across the country.
Newsom’s continuous state of emergency is both lawless and illogical. The governor himself publicly admitted that his rationale for initially declaring a state of emergency no longer exists. Over 74% of Californians are vaccinated and only 1.8% of Californians who are tested for covid tested positive as of November 24th. Regardless of the lack of rationale, the endless state of emergency is incredibly lawless. Emergency powers were first instituted to give officials the power to act quickly during very rare and unprecedented times when normal government processes cannot respond fast enough. These powers were meant to be exercised sparingly over very short periods of time. However, this is not how they’re being used.
“After nearly two years, it is time to restore transparency and accountability to government decision-making, something that can only be done by ending the state of emergency and returning California to normal governance. We brought this action to do that,” announced attorney Scott J. Street in the press release. Street is completely right. Behind the excuse of public safety, Newsom has held a “death-grip on civil liberties” for far too long and it’s time to hold him accountable.
Not only has Newsom already abused his power, but there is no definitive end in sight, especially with the rise of a new variant. The governor’s office announced that the state of emergency would end “once conditions no longer warrant an emergency response.” Therefore, it is up to the governor to arbitrarily determine when conditions are “safe enough” and emergency orders are no longer needed. However, conditions will never be entirely safe, and our liberties cannot be subject to wavering circumstances.
We must remember that danger is the norm, not the exception, and our liberties are incompatible with total safety. We cannot afford to allow our leaders to abuse their power in response to the current pandemic – or the next thing the media deems a threat.
Once our liberties are given up, they are not easily reclaimed. Once our parental rights are gone, it will be an extremely uphill battle to get them back. This is why the success of this lawsuit is so important. It aims to reestablish boundaries for our governors with regard to their use of emergency powers and restore the primacy of civil liberties.
Governor Newsom cannot and should not have the endless ability to undermine the family unit for the rest of his term.