Plaintiffs File Brief in Challenge to Baker Shutdown Executive Orders

The Fiscal Alliance Foundation released the following statement today following the plaintiff’s filing of briefs in the case Dawn Desrosiers, et al. v. Governor Charles D. Baker, the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Governor Charlie Baker’s executive orders shutting down much of the Massachusetts economy through the Civil Defense Act. 

“This is an important step towards finally arriving at some legal clarity regarding the Governor’s executive orders shutting down the state through the Civil Defense Act. The Fiscal Alliance Foundation strongly believes the proper channel for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic lies with the state’s Public Health Act, which was specifically passed by the legislature for dealing with a public health emergency including a pandemic. The Governor’s use of the Civil Defense Act, which was designed to deal foreign invasions, is both illegal and unconstitutional.” commented Craney.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are being represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group founded by prominent legal scholar Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State. NCLA’s public-interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy strive to tame the unlawful power of state and federal agencies and to foster a new civil liberties movement that will help restore Americans’ fundamental rights.

“The state’s highest court is scheduled to hear the case in early September and today’s brief by NCLA lays out a roadmap for why the court should order the Governor to follow the Massachusetts Constitution. While people can debate the pros and cons of the policies found in the Governor’s orders, what should never be in question is the authority under which these orders are being made. The next step is for the Governor to finally provide a written explanation for why he thinks he has the authority under the Civil Defense Act to make orders to deal with a pandemic instead of following the state’s Public Health Act, which specifically provides instruction for what the state can do to deal with a pandemic,” concluded Craney.

The state Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is scheduled to hear the case on September 10 or 11. The Governor’s written brief is expected to be filed on August 28, which would be the first time the Governor has had to defend his Civil Defense Act executive orders before the SJC. While not a plaintiff, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation has taken an active role in the public discourse regarding the lawsuit and its merits, with special focus on the many small business plaintiffs that have been devastated by Governor's executive orders. 

A copy of the brief may be found here.

A copy of NCLA's full statement may be found here.