LOS ANGELES – A lawsuit was filed in federal court, alleging Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow lawmakers “used the coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority” and deprive citizens of their rights.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles by the Center for American Liberty, also names California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Mark Ghilarducci and State Public Health Officer Sonia Angell as defendants.
Messages to a representative for Newsom were not answered. A spokesperson for the AG’s office referred a request for comment to the governor’s office.
According to the complaint, state lawmakers ruined plaintiffs’ “life-defining moments” as a result of the state shutdown.
“Defendants have used the coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority by unprecedented lengths, depriving plaintiffs and all other residents of California of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. and California constitutions, especially but not limited to the right to travel, the right to liberty, the right to the equal protection of the law and the rights protected by the California Emergency Services Act,” the lawsuit alleges.
“It is this court’s duty to defend these constitutional and statutory principles by safeguarding the rights and liberties of Californians that defendants violate,” the suit states.
Plaintiffs include Monica Six of Orange County who contends her April 21 wedding was canceled and reset for later this summer due to the closure of facilities, the lawsuit states.
Derek and LaurieSue Medlin allege they have been denied contact visits with their special-needs son, who lives in a non-medical residential home that provides 24/7 care, as a result of Newsom’s order, according to the lawsuit.
Plaintiff Bailey Batten of San Diego alleges in the complaint that state lawmakers ruined her high school graduation by causing it to be canceled.
Also, an anonymous woman, identified as a breast cancer survivor, contends that although her surgeon deems it necessary to schedule a reconstruction surgery, Newsom has banned hospitals from performing “cosmetic” procedures.
However, Newsom loosened the state’s stay-at-home order on May 6 to let hospitals resume elective surgeries.
The lawsuit cites a memo from U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued on April 27 to all U.S. attorneys, requiring them to identify state directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of citizens.
In the memo, Barr wrote that the Constitution “is not suspended in times of crisis,” and warned that if a state or local ordinance becomes “an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections,” the U.S. Department of Justice “may have an obligation to address that overreach” in court.
The lawsuit seeks a judge’s order reversing the shutdown order.