Pasadena Court Set to Hear Case seeking Injunction Against Newsom’s Stay-at-Home Order

Pasadena Court Set to Hear Case seeking Injunction Against Newsom’s Stay-at-Home Order

A panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena on Tuesday will hear a First and 14th Amendment case stemming from actions taken by Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The appeal in Ron Givens v. Gavin Newsom is the result of a lower court’s denial of injunctive relief in an action alleging that Newsom’s stay-at-home order, enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19, violated Givens’ First Amendment and Due Process rights. Givens and Christine Bish sued Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and two other state officials for depriving plaintiffs of their First and 14th Amendment rights. “In times of crisis, governments often seek to curtail fundamental constitutional rights such as the right to assemble and petition the government. It is precisely at these times that those rights become the most important,” said D.Gill Sperlein, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs. The First Amendment guarantees free speech, including the right to peacefully protest. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868, granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States — including former slaves— and guaranteed all citizens due process and “equal protection of the laws.” According to the lawsuit, under Newsom’s order mandating all residents to “heed current state public health directives,” requiring people to stay at home, neither the governor’s order nor state public health directives exempt demonstrations, protests, or other First Amendment-protected activities from enforcement. Givens also protests the state’s failure to process […]

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