- Justice Neil Gorsuch labeled the avalanche of lockdown measures imposed during the pandemic as among ‘the greatest intrusions on civil liberties’
- He said leaders at state and federal level issued emergency decrees ‘on a breathtaking scale’
- Congress and state legislatures ‘too often fell silent’ as strict rules were laid down, he added
PUBLISHED: 14:57 EDT, 20 May 2023 | UPDATED: 18:12 EDT, 20 May 2023
Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered an excoriating review of the restrictions enforced at both a state and federal level by executive officials.
In a statement written as part of a Supreme Court case about Title 42, Gorsuch said emergency decrees were issued during the pandemic ‘on a breathtaking scale’.
‘Governors and local leaders imposed lockdown orders forcing people to remain in their homes. They shuttered businesses and schools, public and private,’ he wrote.
‘They closed churches even as they allowed casinos and other favored businesses to carry on. They threatened violators not just with civil penalties but with criminal sanctions too.’
Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered an excoriating review of the restrictions enforced at both a state and federal level by executive officials
Many businesses were forced to close across as officials tried to stop the spread of covid – but the extreme measures amounted to some of the ‘greatest intrusions on civil liberties’ in US history, a Supreme Court justice has said. Pictured: A closed business in New York City
Justice Gorsuch also referred to vaccine mandates and threats of dismissal for workers who refused the jab
The justice, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump in 2017, gave examples of how authorities ‘surveilled church parking lots, recorded license plates, and issued notices warning that attendance at even outdoor services satisfying all state social-distancing and hygiene requirements could amount to criminal conduct’.
He explained how ‘federal executive officials entered the act too’ through vaccine mandates which included threats of dismissal for employees and service members who refused.
‘Along the way, it seems federal officials may have pressured social-media companies to suppress information about pandemic policies with which they disagreed,’ Gorsuch added.
Emergency decree were issued ‘at a furious pace’ while Congress and state legislatures ‘too often fell silent’.
The statement was filed as the Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by Republican states which sought to maintain the Title 42 public health policy which allowed the US to turn away asylum seekers during the pandemic.
Schools were also closed across the country, harming children’s education. Pictured: A student attends an online class from home in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020
A closed school building in New York City on November 19 2020
Justices said the case was moot because Title 42 was to expire anyway after the Biden administration announced the public health emergency would end on May 11.
Referring to the broader issue of strict lockdown policies during the pandemic, Gorsuch added: ‘Doubtless, many lessons can be learned from this chapter in our history, and hopefully serious efforts will be made to study it.
‘One lesson might be this: Fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces. They can lead to a clamor for action—almost any action—as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat.
‘A leader or an expert who claims he can fix everything, if only we do exactly as he says, can prove an irresistible force.’
He concluded: ‘Make no mistake—decisive executive action is sometimes necessary and appropriate. But if emergency decrees promise to solve some problems, they threaten to generate others.
‘And rule by indefinite emergency edict risks leaving all of us with a shell of a democracy and civil liberties just as hollow.’
The Supreme Court justice mentioned vaccine mandates in his criticism of lockdown measures that were ‘among the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the history of the nation’
Some studies have questioned whether the benefits of strict lockdown measures outweighed the negatives
Several studies have questioned the efficacy of lockdown in the US and internationally, indicating that in some cases the negative impacts outweighed the positives.
One review by an international team of economists found draconian shutdowns only reduced Covid mortality by 3 per cent in the UK, US and Europe in 2020.
The experts, from Johns Hopkins University in the US, Lund University in Sweden and the Danish think-tank the Center for Political Studies, said that equates to 6,000 fewer deaths in Europe and 4,000 fewer in the US.
But official data in the US has showed the country suffered nearly 300,000 more deaths than usual in more than two years of the pandemic that cannot be attributed to Covid.
Dr Coady Wing, a health policy expert from Indiana University, told DailyMail.com that these pandemic mandates kept people who needed care the most away from the doctor’s office – potentially costing thousands of lives.