U.S. Congressman Ron Wright (R-Texas) joined Arizona Republican colleague Andy Biggs last week in introducing House Resolution 955, which expresses frustrations with state and local officials who are aggressively enforcing shutdown orders, many of which Wright said violate constitutional rights.
The resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that in response to the COVID–19 outbreak, governors and local officials across the nation have abused their authority by infringing on the constitutional rights of Americans, ordering private businesses to close, requiring citizens to stay in their homes, and imposing draconian punishments for violations.
The resolution cites the case of Shelley Luther, the Dallas beauty salon owner who was arrested after opening her salon on April 24 in defiance of a local shutdown order but was later ordered freed from jail.
“Over the past week we have witnessed one of the worst examples of judicial hubris we have seen in a very long time,” Wright said in a statement released by his office on Monday. “The imprisonment of Shelley Luther was not only a disgrace to the rule of law, but completely and diabolically unjust. On Thursday, I happily watched Ms. Luther walk out of Dallas County Jail thanks to strong leadership from Governor Abbott and Texas Attorney General Paxton. I also want to thank all the brave Americans across the nation that stood up for freedom and demanded her release from this grave miscarriage of justice. “
The resolution also cites other instances in Michigan, California, Mississippi and Maine where it claims civil liberties were violated by stay-at-home orders.
The resolution finds that many of the orders issued by state and local officials infringe on the constitutional rights of Americans; finds that states and localities should not make criminals out of individuals attempting to save their business and support their families and employees; condemns the decisions of state and local leaders to become the referee of the economy by picking winners and losers; calls on Attorney General William Barr to review all restricting orders issued by state and local leaders and to act against those that infringe on Americans’ constitutional or statutory protections; and calls upon states to restore the liberty and responsibility that every American inherently possesses.
“Shelley Luther is not alone,” Wright continued. “Many of my colleagues and I have been frustrated with how stay at home orders have been handled by local officials, not just in Texas, but across the country ... I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this resolution and I will continue to demand that our civil liberties and constitutional rights be upheld even during a global pandemic.”