A Colorado state representative reminded his constituents that the U.S. Constitution is not suspended by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“America has been through many other tough times and medical epidemics (smallpox, yellow fever, Spanish flu, cholera, and so forth), and the Constitution is not suspended because of a pandemic,” state Rep. Mark Baisley, a Republican from Colorado’s 39th District, told his constituents in a letter Tuesday. He added that the “appropriate role for government in a health challenge is to provide an accurate understanding of the virus in order to assist families in making informed decisions in their own self interests.”
“You have a constitutionally guaranteed right of assembly and association, specifically protected in the First Amendment,” Baisley said. “And for many Coloradans, Thanksgiving is also a religious holiday a time to gather with family and thank God for His blessings; and your right to the free exercise of religion is similarly protected by the First Amendment.”
The Republican lawmaker then cited a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that reads, in part:
“The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday that 15 counties were moving to “level red” later this week, which closes indoor dining and moves “last call” at bars to 8 p.m. Gyms will require reservations and be limited to 10% capacity. Places of worship are limited to a capacity of 10 congregants indoors, and remote learning is “suggested.”
Baisley has been an outspoken advocate of personal liberty, telling the Colorado Springs Gazette that the top political issues were education during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that Coloradans can meet their bottom lines.
“Rather than assuming an attitude of service by providing expert advice regarding the current pandemic, this governor’s administration seizes authority over how we all shall behave,” he told the Gazette. “Citizens should be trusted to act in their own families’ best interest. They should not be threatened with jail time, fines and loss of business licenses by arrogant bureaucrats.”
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