A federal judge struck down a lawsuit from Del. Dan Cox and several others Wednesday which sought to challenge the stay-at-home order and regulations put into place by Gov. Larry Hogan over the coronavirus pandemic.
In a memo written Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake said the state and country are “now in the grip of a public health crisis more severe than any seen for a hundred years.”
Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) led a group that had argued Hogan’s executive orders, including the stay-at-home order, were overreaching of the federal and state constitutions.
Blake, however, said in her ruling that the plaintiffs had not met the burden of proving Hogan’s executive orders were overreaching and they did not prove those orders were not in the interest of protecting public health.
“Public officials cannot responsibly exercise their broad authority to protect the health of the entire community without considering the data, the science, and the advice of experienced public health professionals,” Blake wrote. “Governor Hogan, exercising the powers given to him by the legislature in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, has made reasonable choices informed, if not dictated by, such data, science, and advice.”
Blake denied Cox and others’ motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs were seeking relief from alleged damages caused by churches and businesses being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic — including Adventure Park USA, which reported a potential revenue loss of $700,000 this spring, The Frederick News-Post reported earlier this month.
Blake, in her ruling, said they had not proven Hogan (R) was making the executive orders for reasons outside of public health and safety.
“In opposing the Governor’s stay at home orders, including the prohibition on large gatherings, the closing of nonessential businesses, and the requirement that face coverings be worn on public transportation and in retail stores, the plaintiffs minimize the risks of this pandemic but cite no contrary scientific authority,” Blake wrote.
Cox appeared to disagree with the ruling in a Facebook post Wednesday night, citing the following Winston Churchill quote: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
“Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we fight on for our very Constitution and liberty,” Cox wrote. “This ruling must not stand.”
Cox could not be reached for further comment Wednesday evening.
Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said in a statement his office appreciated Judge Blake’s ruling, and noted she compared the governor’s response to that of President Donald Trump and White House officials.
“Judge Blake has recognized that the governor’s emergency orders have a firm basis in law and science,” Ricci said. “In fact, she even noted that the governor’s orders are consistent with the president’s own ‘Opening Up America Again’ guidelines.”