BOSTON — Massachusetts’ highest court says Gov. Charlie Baker didn’t overstep his authority with orders to close businesses and limit gatherings to control the spread of the coronavirus.
The Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday rejected a challenge brought on behalf of a group including salon owners, pastors and a private school. They accused the Republican of exercising “legislative police power” by declaring a state of emergency.
Baker announced this week that Massachusetts would tighten some restrictions as cases rise. The court rejected the lawsuit’s argument that the governor’s actions infringe on due process and free assembly.
“Given that COVID-19 is a pandemic that has killed over a million people worldwide, it spreads from person to person, effective vaccines have not yet been distributed, there is no known cure, and a rise in cases threatens to overrun the Commonwealth’s hospital system, it is a natural cause for which action is needed to ‘protect the public peace, health, security and safety, and to preserve the lives and property of the people of the commonwealth,’” the court wrote, quoting the state law.