The New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Republican State Senator who challenged the constitutionality of COVID lockdown guidelines developed by the State Department of Health. Judge Ronald Ploetz of Cattaraugus County ruled in favor of state Senator George Borrello, who took legal action against the department in April for breaking the separation of powers. The New York State Department of Health developed isolation and quarantine for individuals thought to have a contagious illness like COVID-19.
The policy, NYCRR 2.13, was at first embraced as an emergency situation procedure on Feb. 22, 2022, and was consequently renewed for several 90-day periods. The policy is presently in effect through July 20 and is pending long-term adoption..
Under NYCRR2.3, health department authorities and regional health authorities might mandate seclusion and quarantine durations for individuals who might have been exposed to a disease. The authorities might need the people to separate in quarantine at places besides their houses, consisting of motels, homes, or health centers.
“The provisions closely resemble the provisions in the controversial Assembly Bill 416, which was proposed prior to the pandemic and never received the legislative support required to move forward,” reported the Olean Times Herald.
“The expansive emergency powers that were given to the Executive Branch during the pandemic set a dangerous precedent that was ripe for abuse,” Senator Borrello said in a statement to the outlet on July 8.
“Reluctant to relinquish the unrivaled authority that accompanied New York’s ‘state of emergency’, the governor sought to improperly use the agency rulemaking process as another conduit for unilateral control,” Borrello said. “If we allowed that to occur unchallenged, it would be inviting further violations of the constitutional separation of powers.”
In his ruling, Judge Ploetz kept in mind that Public Health Law 2120 currently supervises seclusion and quarantining to fulfill public security without breaching private rights.
Ploetz likewise slammed the New York Health Department’s policies for doing not have due process securities and giving “the Commissioner … unfettered discretion to issue a quarantine or isolation for anyone, even if there is no evidence that person is infected or a carrier of the disease.”
The judge stated plainly that involuntary detention “is a severe deprivation of individual liberty, far more egregious than other health safety measures.”
The oral arguments for this case, George M. Borrello et al v. Kathleen C. Hochul et al, had actually been heard in May.
“Much of the legal reasoning Ploetz relied upon for his decision came from the brief filed” by Assemblyman Andrew Goodel and Assemblyman Joe Giglio, both Republicans, which “the state’s attorneys tried to have withheld from Ploetz’ consideration,” per Observer Today.
Borrello commemorated the Ploetz ruling on Twitter.
“This is a victory for the citizens of New York!” he wrote.
We won! The court has ruled that the Executive's attempt to use rulemaking to establish isolation and quarantine procedures was unconstitutional. This is a victory for the citizens of New York!
Thank you to my co-plaintiffs, @lawler4ny & @chrisWCtague. https://t.co/YQ79ql8X26
— George Borrello (@SenatorBorrello) July 8, 2022