Advancing Liberty Through Action

New Jersey Governor Forgets About the Bill of Rights

Apr 16, 2020

Apparently, honoring the Bill of Rights in executive orders is too complicated of a task for some governors to handle.

Just recently, New Jersey’s Democratic governor Phil Murphy was interviewed by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson about his state-mandated social distancing order. (You can watch the full interview here).

According to The Blaze, the order restricts gatherings of more than 10 people - including religious gatherings. In fact, people in New Jersey have been getting arrested for practicing their faith. Just this month 15 people were arrested and charged because they attended a Jewish funeral service.

During the interview, Tucker Carlson got straight to the point. He wanted to know why people were being arrested for simply practicing their faith. After all, the right to worship and peacefully assemble is a right protected and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Right?

Carlson posed one simple question, one that Gov. Murphy repeatedly avoided throughout the rest of his interview: "By what authority did you nullify the Bill of rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?"

Gov. Murphy's reply was very telling: "That's above my pay grade, Tucker. I wasn't thinking about the Bill of Rights when we did this."

That is a chilling response! A governor issues a state-wide order that clearly violates the Constitution, and he doesn't even give it a second thought!

While it is true that governors do have authority to take precautionary measures in the face of an emergency (and indeed should do so when necessary!) nowhere in the Constitution are they granted authority to disregard the Bill of Rights when they do.

Tucker asked his question at least three times. Each time, the New Jersey governor gave reasons as to why he issued the mandate, not by whose authority he ordered it. Gov. Murphy cited scientific reasons and said he had the support of different religious leaders throughout the state, but he never did give a clear, direct answer to Carlson's question.

Apparently, that was "above his pay grade" too.

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