Covid-19 Government Overreach

How the Pandemic Power Grab Failed in Delaware to Dictate Religious Rites and Rituals.

Sixteen well-known words in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution address religion – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”  But its barely known counterpart in the ‘first freedom’ contained in the Delaware Constitution has 8 times as many words explaining the limits of state power in the realm of religious exercise, belief and practice.  The 128 words of Art. I, § 1 state –

Although it is the duty of all persons frequently to assemble together for the public worship of Almighty God; and piety and morality, on which the prosperity of communities depends, are hereby promoted; yet no person shall or ought to be compelled to attend any religious worship, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of worship, or to the maintenance of any ministry, against his or her own free will and consent; and no power shall or ought to be vested in or assumed by any magistrate that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship, nor a preference given by law to any religious societies, denominations, or modes of worship.

These foundational words trace their constitutional lineage back to Art. I, § 1 of the Delaware Constitution of 1792, and their historical lineage to the Declaration of Rights and Fundamental Rules of the Delaware State of 1776.

The very position of Governor of the State of Delaware was not created until Art. III, § 1 of the same Delaware Constitution.  In other words, Delaware government was constitutionally forbidden from entering the religious sphere before the different branches of Delaware government were even created.

Equally important, the Delaware Constitution also bars the Governor from exercising any power to suspend laws enacted by the legislature.  That power is reserved exclusively for the General Assembly, the legislative body.  See Del.Const. Art. I, § 10 (“No power of suspending laws shall be exercised but by authority of the General Assembly.”).

And then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and, it would appear, both the Delaware and U.S. Constitutions were forgotten by the Governor of Delaware.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock v. Delaware Governor John Carney, C.A.No. 20-674-CFC (D.Del.)

Other Matters:

Throughout the pandemic, the Firm has advised various businesses, private organizations, churches, elected officials, individuals and others on how to challenge illegal government Orders which deny treasured constitutional rights, including: the right to assemble, speak and protest illegal government acts; the right to travel; the right to work and earn an honest living; the right to go to school and seek out knowledge; and the right to receive just compensation when the government takes your property for a public good.