Last Friday the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) used to shutter businesses and confine people to their homes except for Whitmer-approved purposes improperly delegated legislative functions to the executive branch. And last month a federal judge in Pennsylvania said that state’s lockdown violated the right of assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment, along with the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.
Both decisions uphold a principle that politicians across the country seemed to forget while they rushed to curtail the epidemic last spring. As U.S. District Judge William Stickman put it in the Pennsylvania case, “the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency.”