Court Dismisses Virus Order Challenge

June 17, 2020 - 8:17 pm
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Richmond, VA _  The Virginia Supreme Court late Wednesday afternoon dismissed a lawsuit challenging Governor Ralph Northam's and state Health Commissioner Norman Oliver's authority to issue orders designed to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The suit, filed by former Virginia Delegate Brad Marrs, argued that several of the measures in the order declaring a State of Emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak were beyond Northam's and Oliver's statutory powers to respond to an emergency or a threat to public health.  Marrs further argued that even if Governor Northam's and Commissioner Oliver's actions are statutorily authorized, they are illegal because they "unconstitutionally suspend the fundamental rights of Marrs and all Virginians, and constitute an improper exercise of powers reserved to the legislature or other public officials."

Marrs specifically challenged the provisions that implemented the stay at home order, closed schools for the remainder of the school year, closing congregational areas in places like dining establishments and bars, and limiting the number of people who could congregate at other businesses and establishments.

Marrs requested a 'writ of mandamus' nullifying the orders and their enforcement.

Court justices in response wrote "Considering the sparse factual allegations in Marrs' petition and the total absence of any allegation of particularized injury, we conclude he has not established his standing to challenge any of the provisions he claims are unlawful."