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Mounting Concern Over Governor Murphy’s “Temporary” Executive Order Power

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, concern mounts on Governor Murphy’s executive power overreach. Murphy’s executive orders have locked down the state. They determine what can open and what cannot. Dog grooming businesses are deemed essential, while hair salons are not. The governor can now pick winners and losers , and essential and non essential.

The law allowing New Jersey’s governors to issue executive orders is broad. It says that Murphy can decide, “the conduct of the civilian population during the threat of and imminence of danger or any emergency.”
But this could mean “almost anything,” according to Rutgers Law School Professor Ronald Chen. Chen says that Murphy is testing the limits of his power ; power given to him by state lawmakers.“Now, of course, the Legislature can revisit that,” says Chen.

Murphy claims that his decisions have been driven by “science and data”. The orders are written to carefully reflect that.“The Legislature and governor get a lot of leeway from courts in deciding what the science indicates,” says Chen.

But the science surrounding COVID-19 is changing and data can be confusing. For weeks, the Murphy administration was including patient deaths in hospital discharges.Executive order power is designed to be “temporary”, but no one knows when the pandemic will end. Would a potential second wave of the virus mean executive orders going into next year?

According to the ABA with the unique and unprecedented circumstances raised by this pandemic, application of the law and earlier Supreme Court rulings do not always result in clear cut answers. Take the church case in Greenville, Mississippi, for example.

In 1905, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a state law mandating smallpox vaccination of adults and subjecting those who refused to a fine and potential imprisonment. A minister who objected on personal liberty grounds under the 14th Amendment filed suit after he was prosecuted and fined. In his 7-2 majority opinion, Justice John Marshall Harlan said “the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint.”

But the federal suit filed in Mississippi by Temple Baptist Church raised a new wrinkle because the church service was offered on a drive-thru basis and didn’t require congregants to leave their cars. In a filing supporting the church, the U.S. Department of Justice suggested the church faced “distinctive treatment” because other establishments, such as restaurants, were allowed to offer drive-thru carryout. The next day, the city reversed its policy and announced that similarly conducted religious services could be held.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Jacobson noted governments must act reasonably, and not “in such an arbitrary and oppressive manner as to justify the interference of the courts to prevent wrong and oppression.” The cases in Kentucky are continuing as is the case in New Mexico.

14 thoughts on “Mounting Concern Over Governor Murphy’s “Temporary” Executive Order Power

  1. He is over stepping his power now. Dont we as Americans have a right to decide what risks we take and are smart enough to take our own precautionary measures?

  2. What the hell is going on here is this crazy

  3. A risk that some choose to assume for themselves should not also infringe on the liberties of others.

  4. He has no right to keep us hostage he is taking our rights away. I am willing to take my chances and he has no right to not open up the state. This man needs to be stopped before everyone ends up in poverty!

  5. Murphy’s executive orders were meant to be temporary not permanent. Anything beyond 15 days was supposed to be reviewed by the legislature and Murphy was supposed to provide proof that an emergency still existed and they would have to vote on whether or not to continue the lockdown. That never happened. There is no emergency anymore. Other states have fully opened and are having no problems. Murphy is trampling on our civil liberties. He is a dictator and now we are dealing with tyranny. He must be stopped.

  6. Open NJ up already! Leave it to us to make our choices. 3 months!! People need to get back to work

  7. Murphy is holding us hostage to get federal bail out money! He has been sitting on 2.7million dollars in aid to small businesses and those affected by this virus! Where has that money gone? He gave $1million to Tom’s River schools, $11 million to Lakewood private schools and $0 dollars to catholic schools! Why so much money to Lakewood? What about Brick schools?
    Re-open this state and let the people live their lives already! Other states have opened and they are doing fine!

  8. It’s that kind of thinking in the above comment that thIs virus will not be under control anytime soon.

  9. He has no right to keep law abiding citizens prisoners in their own home because fear of the spread of the virus. For our safety he says. He then let’s convicted felons out of prison to walk free because of fear of spread of the virus in jail. Which is it Adolf Murphy? Contrary to what you and your former boss Barack Hussein Obama thinks we the people are not to small minded to handle our affairs. So get out of the way and stop violating your oath of office and uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Doubtful you have ever read either.

  10. “Other states have opened and they are doing fine!”


    1. sorry but most states expect new york have done a far better job then new jersey

  11. Yes Governor Como has done a fantastic job. Very professional. He’s actually presidential material.

    1. you mean great job murdering old people , by they way this is New Jersey

  12. The fact that it is in question should be enough to raise red flags. What have Cuomo or Murphy been successful at. They quarantined HEALTHY people. Our numbers are still high, it didn’t work! The power needs to be taken away from both of these men. People need to take care of themselves, I am a healthy American citizen who is being forced not to worship, not to work, to wear a mask, my freedom has been taken from me. by men who are not scientists, not a doctors, no medical expertise at all. Murphy is making decisions for me based on his beliefs. I am not okay with an unqualified person telling me what is right for me.

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