In a landmark decision overturning a lower court’s verdict, New York’s Supreme Court Appellate Division has ruled that the state’s Commissioner of Health may issue quarantine orders to control COVID-19.
Attorney Bobbie Anne Cox had filed lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York Department of Health in 2022 on behalf of a group of plaintiffs, who include New York State Senator George Borello.
Cox told the Epoch Times last November that she was moved to take action after she saw that N.Y. government officials were unwilling to let go of the emergency powers they gained during the pandemic.
The lawsuit argued that forcing people into quarantine procedures with no due process impeded individual liberty and overstepped the separation of powers.
The plaintiffs won the lawsuit last year, but New York State Attorney General Letitia James appealed to overturn the decision on behalf of the Hochul administration. Oral arguments in that case ended in September.
The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division dismissed the lawsuit in a decision entered on Nov. 17, ruling that the plaintiffs “lacked standing” in their complaint.
The case had prompted numerous protests throughout the state to stop what opponents called “Gov. Hochul’s quarantine camps.”
In a post at the Brownstone Institute, Cox explained how she believes the Court got it wrong.
What the Appellate Division court is saying by reversing the lower court and then dismissing our case for lack of standing is that they believe that Senator George Borrello, Assemblyman Chris Tague, Congressman Mike Lawler, and the citizens’ group Uniting NYS did not have the right to bring this lawsuit last year against the Governor and her DOH for their heinous “Isolation and Quarantine Procedures” regulation.
Why not? Because according to this court, my plaintiffs were not injured by the regulation. Why not? Because the court seems to insinuate that the only person with the right to sue is someone who has been forcibly locked in their home against their will, or ripped from their home, taken from their loved ones, and thrown into a quarantine detention center, facility, institution, camp, etc. (pick your noun, doesn’t matter).
The court insinuates that apparently only that person would be injured. Not my plaintiffs. The reason their “logic” is flawed is because we sued pursuant to the separation of powers doctrine, arguing that the Governor and her DOH lacked the constitutional authority to make that horrendous regulation in the first place.
In other words, in short, my legislator-plaintiffs were injured because Hochul and her DOH (Executive Branch) stole the legislators’ power to make law (Legislative Branch) when they created the quarantine reg which was a law (despite the fact that the DOH called it a regulation). The trial court correctly ruled in our favor last summer, and struck the reg down for that exact reason, amongst others.
Borello released a statement on behalf of the plaintiffs saying that they plan to appeal the decision.
We are deeply disappointed in the Appellate Division’s ruling in favor of the Hochul administration in the case of Borrello, Lawler, Tague, Uniting NYS v. Hochul. The court did not address the merits of the case which were outlined by Judge Ploetz in his original decision. Instead, they shamefully reversed and dismissed the case on a technicality, claiming that we, the petitioners, somehow lacked standing to bring the case in the first place.
We strongly disagree with their ruling and are concerned about the widespread implications of this erroneous decision. They have not only paved the way for Hochul and her Department of Health to re-issue this heinous Rule, but they have set a precedent to preclude citizens from rightfully challenging government overreach in court, and they’ve effectively unconstitutionally empowered the Executive Branch to overreach into policymaking, which is a decision that could open the door to further abuses of power.
In light of Governor Hochul’s other overreaches into the daily lives of New Yorkers, including her effort to ban gas stoves, her ‘housing’ plan that would eliminate local zoning, and her excessive mask mandates on children, to name a few, our concerns are well-warranted.
This has been a ‘David v. Goliath’ fight from the beginning on many levels, so it is not surprising that the state, with its limitless resources, has effectuated a win this round. We will never stop fighting for New Yorkers against government overreach. And so, we will be appealing this calamitous decision to the Court of Appeals, our state’s highest court, which is a court of constitutional integrity, and we are confident justice for New Yorkers.