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Court rules New York can order a quarantine in health emergency

Nov 21, 2023 12:57 pm

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that the Fourth Judicial Department, a mid-level appellate court in New York, has reinstated a rule allowing the state Health Department to order someone to involuntarily isolate or quarantine to control a highly contagious disease. That overturns a 2022 decision by a state Supreme Court justice in Cattaraugus County who found the rule violates the constitutional requirement for a separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches when promulgating rules as severe as involuntary isolation. Republicans behind the lawsuit said they plan to appeal the decision to the state Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. The Nov. 17 ruling was on a technicality, as Republican officials filing the suit did not sufficiently establish why they were so severely harmed, and that the trial court failed to adequately rule on the merits of whether the petitioners had a right to bring the case in the first place. Assemblymember Chris Tague, who represents Greene and Schoharie counties, was one of the Republicans behind the lawsuit. The Republicans released a statement saying, “This has been a ‘David v. Goliath’ fight from the beginning on many levels, so it is not surprising that the state, with its limitless resources, has effectuated a win this round.... We will never stop fighting for New Yorkers against government overreach.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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