The governor of New York has gone back to court seeking permission to detain citizens of her state in quarantine camps – without notice, without rights and for as long as some state-chosen health officials say is needed.
The fight arose during COVID-19, when state officials decided they would adopt a new rule giving the state exactly that power.
A lawsuit ensued, and the result was that the detention plan was ruled unconstitutional.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, through Attorney General Letitia James, now has appealed the court’s rejection of her “Isolation and Quarantine Procedures” scheme, according to a report from lawyer Bobbie Anne Flower Cox at the Brownstone Institute.
She explained, “The case, Borrello v. Hochul, which we won last July, was brought against the governor and her Department of Health, on behalf of a group of NYS Legislators, Senator George Borrello, Assemblyman Chris Tague, Assemblyman (now Congressman) Mike Lawler, together with our citizens’ group, Uniting NYS. … The main premise of the case was breach of Separation of Powers – meaning the governor and her Department of Health did not have the authority to make their dystopian ‘Isolation and Quarantine Procedures’ regulation.”
The lawyer explained the rule “allowed the Department of Health to pick and choose which New Yorkers they could lock up or lock down, with no proof that you were ever even exposed to, let alone actually sick with, a communicable disease. They could have locked you down in your home, or they could have removed you from your home and forced you to quarantine in a facility of their choosing.”
There were no time limits, no appeal, no age limits, no rights at all, the report explained.
“You could have received a knock at the door from your local police or sheriff telling you that you had to go with them… by order of the Health Department,” she said. “Furthermore, the regulation had no procedure by which you could be released from quarantine, no way for you to try to negotiate your way out.”
The lawsuit was filed in April 2022, and Judge Ronald Ploetz responded weeks later that the strategy didn’t meet the requirements of the Constitution.
“Interestingly, they did not file their appeal to try to overturn this horrific regulation before that crucial election,” the lawyer said.
The plaintiffs in the case released a statement expressing their disappointment in the state’s pursuit of such an extreme plan.
“The constitutional separation of powers and the right of due process are principles that cannot be compromised,” the statement said.
“This case has been on solid ground from the start and Judge Plotez’s ruling only confirmed that. The notion that a state agency could unilaterally adopt a policy that mandates authoritarian-style isolation and quarantine procedures would have been unimaginable a few short years ago.
“The unconstitutional power grab must be stopped in its tracks.’