Gov. Hochul’s quarantine-related orders struck down by NY Supreme Court

New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul took another loss this week when her state’s highest court placed a massive check on pandemic-related power she must’ve thought she possessed earlier this year.

It was reported that the New York Supreme Court struck down an isolation and quarantine order she issued in February regarding public health emergencies. The order was ruled “unconstitutional” by the state’s high court. 

Part of her original order in February gave state health officials extreme power in times of a pandemic or other contagion. The language of the order spelled out exactly what NY health officials could do during such times, including the issuance of quarantine and/or isolation orders for the public.

“Whenever appropriate to control the spread of a highly contagious communicable disease, the State Commissioner of Health may issue and/or may direct the local health authority to issue isolation and/or quarantine orders, consistent with due process of law, to all such persons as the State Commissioner of Health shall determine appropriate.”

A particularly disturbing part of the rule allowed public health officials to track people to “ensure compliance with the order and determine whether such person requires a higher level of medical care.”

A lawsuit filed against the governor and the state contesting the rule, citing that it violated due process, at the very least, was eventually argued and heard, and finally shot down.

“Respondents offered no scientific data or expert testimony why Rule 2.13 was a necessary response to combat Covid-19, but instead contend only that it would provide a quick and nimble approach to combatting the pandemic,” State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Ploetz wrote in his opinion.

The justice added: “Involuntary detention is a severe deprivation of individual liberty, far more egregious than other health safety measures, such as requiring mask-wearing at certain venues.”