The Thomas More Society has filed suit in Federal court against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) edict barring gatherings of more than 10 people indoors and more than 100 people outdoors.
[T]he nonprofits Election Integrity Fund and One Nation Michigan [plaintiffs in the Thomas More case] argue that Whitmer’s order functions as an abridgment of their right to free speech and assembly under the US Constitution.
Whitmer’s orders “constitute direct restrictions on [the groups’] right to engage in protected speech and assembly and therefore violate the First Amendment,” the suit argues, stating that any restrictions on constitutional rights “must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest.”
Lower (State) courts have ruled that the Wuhan Virus situation is sufficiently important and dangerous that Government restrictions on Constitutional freedoms and rights must be overruled.
However, there is no clause in our Constitution that allows the Government to restrict individual liberties whenever it thinks something is more important than those liberties. In particular, the 1st Amendment says this in pertinent part:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble….
Hence the need for narrow tailoring of any intended restriction and the need even then—especially then—for that restriction to achieve a compelling government interest, not just one convenient to it. The Government has no interest, compelling or otherwise, in restricting these basic freedoms because of the virus, especially since it’s increasingly apparent that such restrictions cause more medical and economic harm than the virus itself.
Along these lines, Supreme Court Justices Robert Jackson (Terminiello v City of Chicago) and Arthur Goldberg (Kennedy v Mendoza-Martinez) have argued that our Constitution “is not a suicide pact.” Indeed, it is not. However, deviation from our Constitution would lead quickly to national suicide.
The Thomas More case would be a slam-dunk were it not for a collection of self-serving politicians and a similar collection of activist judges.