LIHU‘E — A civil lawsuit against Gov. David Ige alleges his COVID-19-related orders violate state and federal constitutions, and requests the courts declare those rules unconstitutional and void.
The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Honolulu last week on behalf of over a dozen Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island residents. Twelve of the 13 plaintiffs are Kaua‘i residents and part of For Our Rights, a Kalaheo-based, unincorporated association.
The 170-page complaint alleges the emergency orders, including the self-quarantine and social-distancing requirements, violate citizens’ “fundamental right to movement and fundamental right to liberty, and fundamental right to due process” under state and federal laws.
State Attorney General Clare E. Connors is also named as a defendant. Part of the plaintiff allegations are that officials acted outside of emergency allowance.
Hawai‘i law gives authorities more power during a state of emergency, but that it “shall terminate automatically sixty days after the issuance of a proclamation of a state of emergency or local state of emergency, respectively, or by a separate proclamation of the governor or mayor, whichever occurs first.” The lawsuit cites Ige’s May 18 proclamation as a breach.
“The Governor’s emergency proclamation for COVID-19 and the subsequent supplementary proclamations were properly and lawfully issued pursuant to the governor’s statutory authority and his determination that an emergency exists due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the danger and threat it poses to Hawai‘i,” said Krishna F. Jayaram, special assistant to the state attorney general, Friday.
“Plaintiffs’ allegations, including alleged constitutional violations stemming from the governor’s actions, are without merit.”
The O‘ahu-based Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm represents For Our Rights.
“As our complaint alleges, the governor’s repeated supplements to his initial emergency proclamation are not authorized by Hawai‘i law and unconstitutionally burden the fundamental rights of Americans to travel interstate, as well as many other constitutional rights,” attorney Marc J. Victor said in a statement.
Many plaintiffs claim the emergency orders have induced anxiety, created substantial losses of income and employment, emotional distress, depression and “deprivation” of visits from family or friends.
Additional allegations include that residents have been exposed to criminal liability under “unconstitutionally vague” rules.
The claim was filed with a motion for a temporary restraining order which requests prohibiting the state from enforcing Ige’s May 18th order or at least stop enforcing the 14-day, state-mandated self-quarantine for out-of-state travelers.
The initial court date is Friday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m., Victor said.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.