Statement on Desrosiers v. Baker Decision

The Fiscal Alliance Foundation made the following statement today in response to the New Civil Liberties Alliance’s case that was decided at the state Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).

That case, Desrosiers v. Baker, was decided and the decision was written by Justice Cypher. The SJC upheld the Governor’s unfettered use of executive orders to deal with the pandemic under the Civil Defense Act (CDA). The CDA does not specifically state the Governor has the authority to evoke these considerable powers to deal with a pandemic but today’s decision ratified that ability. The court offered no limits on how long the orders can remain, nor did they narrow the use of orders moving forward, and the decision is seen as mostly a rubber stamp to the current Governor, who appointed all seven justices to the current SJC. The SJC’s decision stands in stark contrast to recent decisions made by other state supreme courts, federal courts, and even the Supreme Court of United States. A copy of the SJC decision may be found here. 


“When we first began this process, there was a legitimate debate as to whether the CDA granted the Governor this much power to impact and alter the lives of millions of people in such a drastic way. Today’s decision grants him that power. Until today, that question has been hanging over the state since the pandemic first began,” noted Danielle Webb, Esq, local counsel and Chair of Fiscal Alliance Foundation. “We started this challenge to ensure that these decisions were made in a lawful way. The court had an opportunity to hear it and the plaintiffs had a chance to be heard.”


“While many courts in recent months have moved towards restoring liberties and rights, our state’s highest court took the opposite approach,” concluded Webb.


The question on if today’s SJC decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States will be determined by the plaintiffs and the New Civil Liberties Alliance which litigated the case.