Lawyer looking to dump on Gorsuch set straight for disputing that pandemic infringed on ‘civil liberties’

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch tore into the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on Thursday, calling them “the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country.”

The President Trump-appointee delivered an eight-page opinion in Arizona, et al. v. Mayorkas (2023), a Title 42 case that the court removed from its calendar following the expiration of the public health emergency that necessitated the immigration restrictions.

“Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country,” Gorsuch wrote. “Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale.”

He continued:

Governors and local leaders imposed lockdown orders forcing people to remain in their homes. They shuttered businesses and schools, public and private. They closed churches even as they allowed casinos and other favored businesses to carry on. They threatened violators not just with civil penalties but with criminal sanctions too. They surveilled church parking lots, recorded license plates, and issued notices warning that attendance at even outdoor services satisfying all state social-distancing and hygiene requirements could amount to criminal conduct. They divided cities and neighborhoods into color-coded zones, forced individuals to fight for their freedoms in court on emergency timetables, and then changed their color-coded schemes when defeat in court seemed imminent.

Federal executive officials entered the act too. Not just with emergency immigration decrees. They deployed a public-health agency to regulate landlord-tenant relations nationwide. They used a workplace-safety agency to issue a vaccination mandate for most working Americans. They threatened to fire noncompliant employees, and warned that service members who refused to vaccinate might face dishonorable discharge and confinement. Along the way, it seems federal officials may have pressured social-media companies to suppress information about pandemic policies with which they disagreed.


According to Gorsuch, the judiciary became “part of the problem by permitting litigants to manipulate our docket to perpetuate a decree designed for one emergency to address another.”

The associate justice stressed the bleak consequences of suspending civil liberties.

“Make no mistake—decisive executive action is sometimes necessary and appropriate,” he wrote. “But if emergency decrees promise to solve some problems, they threaten to generate others. And rule by indefinite emergency edict risks leaving all of us with a shell of a democracy and civil liberties just as hollow.”

It was a damning rebuke of the many oppressive measures Americans endured and a reminder of what happens when those in power go too far.

But, remarkably, at least one lawyer remembers the demoralizing, destructive measures very differently.

Either that, or he just wants to smear Neil Gorsuch.

“Gorsuch understands we all lived through it and know this is bullsh*t, right?” tweeted attorney Zach Wolfe. “I mean, not once during the pandemic did I feel like my civil liberties were infringed, not even a little.”

“And this great civil libertarian is the same guy who voted to uphold Trump’s thinly-veiled Muslim ban,” he added. “Give me a break.”

Twitter promptly set Wolfe straight.

“Doubling down on lies I see,” replied one user. “There was no muslim ban (though muslim countries do ban homosexuality). There was a stop on passport holders from countries that could not prove who people were and it was 100% POTUS’s call and duty to protect our people. Compare that to failed Biden who is actively intentionally destroying our sovereignty.”

“That could be because you stayed home, wearing a mask and trembling in fear the whole time,” suggested another.

“Being told you could not go to your house of worship infringed on civil liberties. Being told you couldn’t gather with those outside your household infringed on your civil liberties,” said a third. “You could argue that it was worth the health tradeoff, but it was still an infringement.”

Others called Wolfe out on his narcissism.

But one user put it so plainly, even Wolfe should get the point.

“The violation of civil liberties is not so much a matter of one’s feelings. It’s an objective fact,” the user wrote. “In describing it as a matter of feelings, you are really saying that you found the infringements acceptable. Many of us did not.”



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