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Every day I see Norman residents furious about reopening. These folks want to be “protected” by the Mayor and she must enforce “stay home” orders. They have no regard for the rights of others and they are encouraging despotism.


So many are willing to cede dictatorial powers in excess of the Constitution.

The Founders explicitly avoided emergency powers. They exist only in statutes. In Oklahoma, it’s in Title 63. The main thrust of these heretofore rarely used laws is to reduce red tape and enhance agency cooperation and to request funding. These powers do not provide for long standing lock downs with criminal sanctions for exercising constitutional rights. These rights are natural rights and therefore cannot be circumscribed by executive fiat.

The Oklahoma statutes even for emergency powers make plain that the government is to use the “least restrictive” measures and to avoid infringements on civil rights.

There are no Supreme Court cases to support long term lock-downs with criminal enforcement for persons who are healthy.

The laws on quarantine and isolation are not emergency powers. This power is protect the public from those infected or likely infected by a communicable disease that threatens the public health. But the person infected retains due process rights that includes a right to a hearing before a neutral magistrate. In most states, the government decision must be supported by “clear and convincing “ evidence.

The sole justification for this latest unprecedented action over COVID-19 was to prevent the hospitals from being overrun.

It was not to guarantee you won’t get sick.

Any citizen has the right to self-quarantine or isolate if they think that’s best for them.

But there is not one clause in our constitution—the supreme law of the land—that supports coercion to remain indefinitely at home unable to exercise your natural rights. Any law or regulation to the contrary is subject to constitutional challenge where the government action will be closely scrutinized. This is a nation of laws. The opinions of Dr Fauci or the WHO are not binding and we are not a technocracy.

Even within the medical and scientific community there are diverse views.

More and more, the data suggests an extremely low lethality to this virus. The elderly with preexisting problems are most at risk.

Do as you please—it’s your right—but there’s is no basis to deny livelihoods and destroy other aspects of society and health based on opinions and feelings that this is required.

I would caution against encouraging officials to exercise these Draconian measures.

You won’t like the results.

Iraq war veteran and attorney Mitchell Gray serves today as an adjunct professor in Energy Legal Studies, Oklahoma City University. He is the author of the 2015 retrospective on 9/11, I Heard You Were Going on Jihad (Mill City Press, Minneapolis).