Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James is appealing a 2022 court ruling throwing out a state regulation over its glaring illegality. If successful, James’ appeal will restore the power to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration to arbitrarily detain American citizens for indefinite periods and force them into quarantine camps.
What is the background?
The regulation, Section 2.13 “Isolation and Quarantine Procedures,” was adopted and enshrined in the New York Code, Rules and Regulation in February 2022. It went into effect April 22, 2022.
This regulation enabled the state commissioner of health to “issue and/or … direct the local health authority to issue isolation and/or quarantine orders … to all such persons as the State Commissioner of Health shall determine appropriate.”
“For the purposes of isolation orders, isolation locations may include home isolation or such other residential or temporary housing location that the public health authority issuing the order determines appropriate,” read the regulation.
Those detained at home or in a New York concentration camp without trial or proof of infection were to be monitored “to ensure compliance with the order.”
In April 2022, state Senator George Borrello (R), Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R), and Assemblyman Chris Tague (R) joined pro-freedom citizens’ group Uniting NYS in suing Gov. Kathy Hochul, Department of Health Commissioner Bassett, the Department of Health, and the Public Health and Health Planning Council over the New York’s forced “Isolation and Quarantine” regulation.
Borrello said, “From the start of the pandemic I was deeply concerned that the expansive ‘emergency’ powers that were given to the Executive Branch would establish a permanent precedent. Unfortunately, that is precisely what we are seeing here in New York State.”
“It’s an unconstitutional overreach that violates the required separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. It must be challenged,” added Borrello.
Tague said, “This policy’s aim to forcibly isolate law-abiding citizens is reminiscent of actions taken by some of the ugliest tyrannical regimes history has ever known. It has no place standing as law here in New York, let alone anywhere in the United States.”
Their suit claimed that the Hochul administration not only lacked the statutory authority to promulgate 10 NYCRR 2.13 “Isolation and Quarantine Procedures,” which had been adopted as an emergency regulation on Feb. 22, 2022, but that it was “not the least restrictive way in which Respondents could try to achieve their goal.”
The lawsuit intimated that Hochul and others had acted in a despotic manner, having “exceeded their executive powers, thereby usurping the power of the NYS legislature” and “misleading the public.”
They noted that it violated the NYS Administrative Procedure Act, the Separation of Powers doctrine, and Public Health Law and had been enacted “against the will of the NYS Legislature which refused to act on the topic.”
New York Judge Ronald Ploetz happened to agree.
“Involuntary detention or hospitalization … triggers Constitutional protections including the right to counsel … as well as proof of the need for detention by clear and convincing evidence,” wrote Ploetz. “No such due process protections are afforded by Rule 2.13. The Commissioner has 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. Further, the Commissioner sets the terms, duration, and location of the detention, not an independent magistrate.”
Ploetz underscored, “Involuntary detention is a severe deprivation of individual liberty, far more egregious than other health safety measures, such as requiring mask wearing at certain venues,” noting that it could result in unemployment and family breakdowns.
The regulation was deemed “null, voice and unenforceable as a matter of law.”
Hochul and her administration were also prohibited from both enforcing 2.13 or readopting it.
The Democratic fight to detain Americans on a whim
The Brownstone Institute reported that on March 13, 2023, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) formally submitted an appeal to overturn Ploetz’s ruling and restore the illegal quarantine regulation.
Rather than file an appeal before the November elections, during which Hochul and James were on the ballot, the Brownstone Institute noted James waited until the January 2023 deadline came around.
Concerning the belated appeal, Sen. Borrello said in a statement, “It is disappointing, but not a surprise, that state officials have chosen to pursue an appeal of Judge Ploetz’s ruling declaring Rule 2.13 unconstitutional and ‘null and void.’ Their actions are an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars and an attempt to defend an indefensible policy. The constitutional separation of powers and the right of due process are principles that cannot be compromised.”
“This case has been on solid ground from the start and Judge Ploetz’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,” said Rep. Lawler. “However, the extreme government control and overreach that was disturbingly normalized during the pandemic has given rise to actions like this one. It has to stop and that is why we won’t give up.”
Assemblyman Tague stated, “This unconstitutional power-grab must be stopped in its tracks. If Rule 2.13 is allowed to stand, I guarantee that we will see more frightening intrusions on our civil liberties in the years ahead.”
“I am calling on the governor and the attorney general to accept the court’s ruling and stop this waste of taxpayer resources on this futile fight,” said Tague.
Bobbie Anne Cox, the attorney instrumental in bringing the lawsuit against Hochul’s health regime, wrote on her Substack, “Every New Yorker, every American, should know that our government wants complete and utter control to lock you up or lock you down, with no proof that you are sick, for an indefinite amount of time, regardless of age, and with no path for release once imprisoned.”
While James appears keen on enabling the Democratic governor to lock up law-abiding citizens, the attorney general has been an advocate for no-cash bail and a critic of police conducting arrests during traffic stops, in both cases helping to keep criminals on the streets.
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