Idle hands are the devil’s playground. Many of us – most of us – have plenty of spare time. Idle hands have taken to the internet. The result is a flood of material by internet “scholars” pontificating on what powers governments have (or don’t have) to limit mobility, restrict rights or compel certain action. Some of the information appears to be divorced from reality, historical precedent or any laws that apply.
There are no clear answers to some of the questions that have arisen in these interesting times. Before accepting the claims by the internet “scholars,” it might be good to ask the right questions. Among them are:
*What type of “emergency” allows government powers to be expanded and personal liberties to be curtailed?
*What government powers and what constraints apply in cases when there is an “emergency?”
*Who decides when an emergency exists and what emergency powers can be exercised? Who decides? The federal government, the state governments, the president, congress, state legislatures or state governors?
*Are there laws, court decisions or other sources already in place that answer these questions?
Finally, the big question, when “emergency” powers are invoked by whoever invoked them, what authority do the courts have to review the exercise of emergency powers? These are only a few of the questions that should be asked at this time. There are, no doubt, many more.
Albert Einstein suggested, “Don’t listen to the person who has the answers. Listen to the person who has the questions.” All of us have questions. Be cautions of those who claim to have all the answers.