Justice Gorsuch documents the breakdown of our political institutions over COVID.
Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country. Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale. Governors and local leaders imposed lockdown orders forcing people to remain in their homes.13 They shuttered businesses and schools, public and private. 14 They closed churches even as they allowed casinos and other favored businesses to carry on. 15
They threatened violators not just with civil penalties but with criminal sanctions too.16 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.17 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.