Andrew Napolitano, who serves as a legal analyst for Fox News, says President Donald Trump has absolutely no authority to override any state governor and force them to allow churches to reopen in the midst of a pandemic.
On Friday afternoon at the White House, Trump declared churches to be providing “essential” services and said that he was ordering the immediate reopening of all places of worship:
“If they don’t do it I will override the governors. America, we need more prayer, not less.”
TRUMP: “Some governors have deemed liquor stores & abortion clinics essential, but have left out churches … it’s not right. So I am correcting this injustice & am calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow churches & places of worship to open right now” pic.twitter.com/e0VU8XeLEm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 22, 2020
But can Trump do that? Napolitano says he can’t, telling host Dana Perino:
“In a word, no. As ill-advised as these gubernatorial orders are, as essential as is the right to worship, as fundamental as it is, as absolutely protected by the First Amendment as it is, the president does not have any authority to override the governors.”
Napolitano added that the president “on his own, no matter well intended he may be — and I believe he’s well intended here — is without authority to do that.”
About all Trump can do, according to Napolitano is “dispatch” the Department of Justice to file suit against states and have a judge “override” a governor.
— The Daily Briefing (@dailybriefing) May 22, 2020
“The anxiety over Trump’s standing with the Christian right surfaced after a pair of surveys by reputable outfits earlier this month found waning confidence in the administration’s coronavirus response among key religious groups, with a staggering decline in the president’s favorability among white evangelicals and white Catholics.”
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