Is COVID eroding our constitutional rights?

Lostngone

Power User
Aug 15, 2020
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With all these mandates, laws, local ordinances when it comes to wearing a mask or limiting gathering sizes or other things.

Personally I feel that what I have seen so far is common sense and necessary for the common good. However I do see the other side of the coin and how if it was applied differently or under different circumstances it might be construed as as threat to our Constitutional rights.

How do we balance this and/or stop future overreach using this as a precedent.
 

lizkat

Site Champ
Aug 15, 2020
492
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Catskill Mountains
With all these mandates, laws, local ordinances when it comes to wearing a mask or limiting gathering sizes or other things.

Personally I feel that what I have seen so far is common sense and necessary for the common good. However I do see the other side of the coin and how if it was applied differently or under different circumstances it might be construed as as threat to our Constitutional rights.

How do we balance this and/or stop future overreach using this as a precedent.

When it doesn't seem like common sense (or rather a threat to the common good) is at play with a mandate, then that's probably the time to raise a hand and ask whassup with that? Maybe others will have different views but you're right if you are suggesting that silence comes off as assent.

On the other hand I don't think it's right to punch someone out for doing their job and --for example-- asking customers to put on a mask before entering a store or crowded public conveyance. Raising an objection to me means asking the lawmakers or rule makers about the rule, not whaling on some enforcer just doing an authorized job.
 

SuperMatt

Site Champ
Aug 11, 2020
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Absolutely not. The country can literally draft people into the military in a time of war. They certainly can tell you to stay home and wear a mask if you need to go out during a once-in-a-century pandemic.
 
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Renzatic

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Aug 14, 2020
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The Constitution does allow our states and federal government extra leeway in emergency situations, provided the measures taken aren't overly restrictive, arbitrarily enforced, are acknowledged as being temporary, and make sense given the situation.

Take the mask mandate as an example...

It's an annoying thing to have forced upon us, but people are otherwise allowed the freedom to go where and do what they please, with the only expectation being that they exercise some caution while they're out and about. It's not an overly restrictive measure.

Everyone is expected to wear a mask in crowded, encloses spaces. There are no exceptions made for Group A, or Group B. It's not arbitrarily enforced.

We're only expected to wear masks until we have the Covid situation under control. At the most extreme, we'll have to deal with them for another year. They're a temporary measure. Wearing a mask at all times isn't the new law of the land from here on out.

They do slow the spread of the virus, so having to wear one makes sense, given the situation.

If you go through your legal history, you'll see that there are situations where the government has had to go above and beyond the usual to protect the people, and maintain the general welfare. It's been long since determined that so long as certain strict standards are adhered to, it's legal.

To put it another way:

Are you being actively oppressed? Are your rights and freedoms actually being infringed upon?

Or...

Are you being minorly inconvenienced?

If it's the latter, it's probably legal.
 

lizkat

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Aug 15, 2020
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Absolutely not. The country can literally draft people into the military in a time of war. They certainly can tell you to stay home and wear a mask if you need to go out during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

It would seem though that when a leader fails to do that at the outset, then his trying to override assorted little fiefdoms' interim (and conflicting) arrangements, with an overall mandate from the Oval Office later on, would likely fetch even more resistance than we see now in states where governors say "wear masks!" and citizens say "up yours, the prez ain't been wearin' one and he's fine so we're fine just the way we are."

After all Trump is now seen with a mask on sometimes, but plenty of his followers are still out there making life an unholy hell for clerks and greeters at Walmarts and Targets etc.

So even if he now discards his prior attitude about masks, it's like it's too late for his most hard core followers to shift gears... they're acting like they acted after he walked back some of his Charlottesville remarks, e.g., "We know what you meant the first time and we get it that you're just putting on a show for certain other people right now, it's ok, we're behind ya, we got your back on where you're really comin' from."
 

BigMcGuire

Power User
Aug 23, 2020
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It would seem though that when a leader fails to do that at the outset, then his trying to override assorted little fiefdoms' interim (and conflicting) arrangements, with an overall mandate from the Oval Office later on, would likely fetch even more resistance than we see now in states where governors say "wear masks!" and citizens say "up yours, the prez ain't been wearin' one and he's fine so we're fine just the way we are."

After all Trump is now seen with a mask on sometimes, but plenty of his followers are still out there making life an unholy hell for clerks and greeters at Walmarts and Targets etc.

So even if he now discards his prior attitude about masks, it's like it's too late for his most hard core followers to shift gears... they're acting like they acted after he walked back some of his Charlottesville remarks, e.g., "We know what you meant the first time and we get it that you're just putting on a show for certain other people right now, it's ok, we're behind ya, we got your back on where you're really comin' from."
I've gotten screamed at for wearing a mask. Definitely think things would have been better had he led by example from the onset but ... it isn't Trump's style. If there is an opportunity to piss off the press or outrage people... It'll be done.


With all these mandates, laws, local ordinances when it comes to wearing a mask or limiting gathering sizes or other things.

Personally I feel that what I have seen so far is common sense and necessary for the common good. However I do see the other side of the coin and how if it was applied differently or under different circumstances it might be construed as as threat to our Constitutional rights.

How do we balance this and/or stop future overreach using this as a precedent.
This is something I've been hearing more of. People worried that this is going to lead to a loss of freedom. I've noted but haven't seen any indication of an impending plan to restrict freedom. People have a hard enough time following rules, I'm not sure how this would even (could even) result in a loss of freedom. What I don't get is how inconvenienced people are when SAVING PEOPLES LIVES are a stake... really?

To put it another way:

Are you being actively oppressed? Are your rights and freedoms actually being infringed upon?

Or...

Are you being minorly inconvenienced?

If it's the latter, it's probably legal.
Perfect.
 
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Alli

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 11, 2020
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I've gotten screamed at for wearing a mask. Definitely think things would have been better had he led by example from the onset but ... it isn't Trump's style. If there is an opportunity to piss off the press or outrage people... It'll be done.
The funny thing is, the people hollering that a mask mandate takes away freedom has no problem with an armed federal force going into cities, or the mass incarceration of children at the border. Maybe they don’t really understand what freedoms are?
 

yaxomoxay

Site Champ
Aug 13, 2020
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Absolutely not. The country can literally draft people into the military in a time of war. They certainly can tell you to stay home and wear a mask if you need to go out during a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Not equivalent. The Constitution is clear in that the US Government can "raise and support Armies". The feds have absolutely no right to lock the country down (= forcing people to stay at home). States, might in some circumstances (debatable, but I'd lean towards a "yes they can"); feds? no.
 
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Alli

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Aug 11, 2020
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Not equivalent. The Constitution is clear in that the US Government can "raise and support Armies". The feds have absolutely no right to lock the country down (= forcing people to stay at home). States, might in some circumstances (debatable, but I'd lean towards a "yes they can"); feds? no.
Since the US has never really been locked down - no one has ever been forbidden from leaving their homes - that begs the question of wearing masks.
 

yaxomoxay

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Aug 13, 2020
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Since the US has never really been locked down - no one has ever been forbidden from leaving their homes - that begs the question of wearing masks.
(local) Governments have shut down businesses and services, and they set up limitations on crowds and parks uses, for example, which is legally debatable.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Aug 12, 2020
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Obviously, this discussion (judging by the title) is more focussed on the situation that obtains in the US.

Governments have implemented regulations, decrees, and "strong advisory" policies in part of Europe.

I take the distinction that @Renzatic has drawn between oppressed or inconvenienced.

However, I believe that it may be somewhat more nuanced than that, as some economic costs and consequences (even for some who had run their businesses flawlessly prior to the imposition of restrictions on movement, or trading, or setting conditions on same) will be catastrophic, and that goes beyond 'inconvenience'.

Personally, I think that such powers as a government arrogates to itself during a pandemic to preserve and protect public health are necessary, but they must also come under continuous parliamentary scrutiny, be accountable to and answerable to informed elected representatives, be clearly explained, and be time-limited.

Yes, the time periods where such measures remaining place can be extended, but only after a clear case (supported by relevant scientific and medical evidence) has been made for this; and this is where we are back to clear messaging, for, to successfully manage (or defeat, or cope with) living with this virus means that the public need to be on board, and to have bought into the relevant message.

Of course, that also means that those who run the country, who preach, must also practice what they preach, and be seen to do so.
 
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