A Missouri judge ends public health director tyranny across Missouri. A landmark case brought by Shannon Robinson, Satchmo’s Bar and Grill, and Church of the Word in Fenton, MO, was decided today. The lawsuit challenged regulations issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services that unconstitutionally authorize local medical directors to unilaterally issue rule after rule, order after order, quarantine after quarantine, affecting Missourians, their businesses, schools, schoolchildren and all sectors of Missourian’s lives. Judge Green, sitting in our state’s capitol city, struck down those regulations in a sweeping opinion that leaves no stone unturned.
Judge Green’s order reads: “This case is about whether Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services regulations can abolish representative government in the creation of public health laws, and whether it can authorize closure of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of an unelected official. This court finds it cannot.” The order is in full force as of today, November 22, and requires the Secretary of State to strike the offending regulations that allow for health director tyranny from the state register and Code of State Regulations.
The judge elaborated, striking all regulations that allow the unfettered discretion of local health authorities to issue public health orders and close schools and businesses. He further recognized that quarantine orders from local health authorities that exclude healthy children from school are invalid, noting that children can only be excluded from school based on an existing state regulation not at issue in the case. That regulation (19 CSR 20-20.030) provides that only those students who are in a position to transmit an illness, such as those that are contagious (not those simply exposed to an illness) can be excluded, and must be permitted to return to school if not contagious according to their doctor.
“When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person. . .there can be no liberty,” the order states. Further, Judge Green adopted the maxim set forth by Michigan Justice Viviano, “It is incumbent on the courts to ensure decisions are made according to the rule of law, not hysteria. . . .One hopes that this great principle – essential to any free society, including ours – will not itself become yet another casualty of COVID-19.” He also found that the regulations allowing health-director rule “break our three-branch system of government in ways that a middle school civics student would recognize.”
The Judge not only ordered that the regulations be stricken from the register, but also that all existing health orders issued by local health authorities are “null and void.”
The Judge cautioned any local legislative body that prior to enacting any orders or ordinances relating to public health, pursuant to existing state law, the proposed provisions must be “so necessary that a violation of the law justifies applicable criminal sanctions.”
“It is an exciting, momentous occasion in our state. Missouri can return to the constitutional principles of a three-branch system: Executive, Judicial and Legislative. It is high time for our executive branch to stay in its lane and stop acting as a legislative branch,” said Shannon Robinson, leader of St. Louis County Supporting Kids and Community.
Ben Brown of Satchmo’s Bar and Grill said, “The result is tyranny, and it is over. It is time for our businesses, schools and residents to embrace the freedom that this decision provides. It is time to make masks optional, end needless quarantines of Missouri’s children, and go back to living productive lives while allowing individuals the freedom to choose how and when they interact with others based on each person’s or family’s personal decisions.”