President Donald Trump said on Monday, April 13, 2020, that it would be his call when to reopen the US economy not that of state governors, while legal experts disagreed with Trump and governors are moving ahead of their own plans. However, legal analysts claimed that a US president has a limited role and power to order citizens back to their workplaces or cities to reopen government buildings, transportation, or local businesses.
Last month, Trump declared to extend the federal policy of “stay at home” guidelines through April and had announced that the US economy would be reopened as soon as possible amid the coronavirus outbreak that had claimed the lives of about 22,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs. Nevertheless, Trump said that he would take the decision after having consulted with US health experts and others for any recommendations.
On Monday, Trump wrote on Twitter, “It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!” He further added that governors had not roles in that.
The federal health officials have already issued anti-coronavirus guidelines including social distancing and wearing face coverings, Washington, however, has not issued nationwide recommendations on school closings or shuttering public services and businesses, leaving such decisions to the governors of individual states.
States’ Governors Disagreeing Trump
The federal guidelines of safety measures regarding the virus pandemic were applied across the states and a number of states have extended their stay-at-home and social distancing orders beyond May 1, while Virginia’s governor had plans to extend the lockdown till June 10.
Referring to the roles of implementation of the preventive measures, Chris Sununu, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, held a view, “All these executive orders are state executive orders and so, therefore, it would be up to the state and the governor to undo a lot of that. Sununu said in an interview with CNN that each governor had to make the best decision to help their people even in emergency situations including unemployment insurance. Sununu added, “It’s a pandemic. It has no playbook.”
Citing the difference of ideas and opinions with Trump, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state has been facing the largest cases of the new coronavirus, said on Monday that he would coordinate with other governors of neighboring states in implementing several health-related procedures. The Governor told reporters, “So, we’ll listen to the experts, we’ll follow the data but remember this is a delicate balance.”
According to the US Constitution, under the 10th Amendment, state governments have the power to police citizens and regulate public welfare. Robert Chesney, a professor of national security law at the University of Texas, said, “This is Federalism 101,” adding that “The president can advocate his heart’s content, but he can’t actually commandeer the state governments to make them change their policies. He has no such inherent authority, nor is there any federal statute that purports to give him such authority.”
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