Fahgettaboudit: Cuomo Threatens Lawsuit Against Rhode Island For Stopping New Yorkers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to sue Rhode Island for its effort to stop cars with New York license plates to be sure that New Yorkers quarantine for two weeks. This includes police going door-to-door. Apparently, the image of some guy with a bell crying “bring out your New Yorkers” in the streets is not appealing to Cuomo. Yet, this could present a knotty legal issue.

The Supreme Court has long recognized a right to travel and movement as a core constitutional right under the Privileges and Immunities Clause. In 1869, the Supreme Court declared in Paul v. Virginia that citizens have the “right of free ingress into other States, and egress from them.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the plan last week to try to prevent the spread of the virus from the hot zone of the Empire State. Cuomo is irate and declared “there’s a point of absurdity, and I think what Rhode Island did is at that point of absurdity.”

Raimondo is not backing down: “I want to be crystal clear about this: If you’re coming to Rhode Island from New York you are ordered into quarantine. The reason for that is because more than half of the cases of coronavirus in America are in New York.”

However, she recently expanded the policy to include all out of state cars. This may be in anticipation of such a lawsuit to show that she is not singling out citizens of one state for greater scrutiny. Of course saying that you will also stop an occasional car from Arkansas may not be much solace for Cuomo or his fellow New Yorkers.

The fact that this is a monitoring regulation for public health in a pandemic may give Rhode Island an upper hand. Stopping travel to the state would create serious constitutional questions on the restriction of the right to travel as well as interstate commerce issues. However, in a pandemic, courts tend to be deference — at least in the short term — toward state efforts to control the spread of a deadly virus.

In the meantime, some are taking measures into their own hands. A group of armed men recently cut down a tree across the driveway of a suspected New Yorkers to confine them to her home on an island in Maine.

Of course, this is not the first time Rhode Island has declared New Yorkers a public menace:

32 thoughts on “Fahgettaboudit: Cuomo Threatens Lawsuit Against Rhode Island For Stopping New Yorkers”

  1. Why do so many find it so easy to accept a false premise? The governor did not, in point of fact, “stop travel,” erect barricades, direct the National Guard to kill on sight any out-of-state persons, or attempt to create tactical nuclear weapons to eliminate the state of New York.

    She simply ordered that contact-tracing information be gathered from out-of-state motorists, and that they self-quarantine. During a global pandemic, when the entirely of science and human history affirms that “isolation = good” and “intermingling = bad” regarding the spread of (nearly?) every single viral contagion every encountered by humans.

    This particular action should not raise the hue and cry. Shifting to random “Papers, please” police actions is less straightforward, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are plenty of issues arising from *actual* actions of our governments. Can we please stop worrying about things that haven’t yet even occurred?

  2. The quarantines are a dimension of the state government’s general police power. It’s perfectly proper for the governor to do this in regard to people entering from New York, New Jersey, or Louisiana. It would be agreeable if it could be limited to those in the 20 counties around Manhattan and the half-dozen parishes around New Orleans, but state license plates seldom have that identification. She has her own constituency to protect.

  3. Rhode Island didn’t declare war on New York. The R.I. Governor just wants to keep problems localized.

  4. If was logical to shut down entry into our country from China, it is equally logical to shut down entry to anyone coming from New York. After all, Covid-19 doesn’t care about your constitutional rights.

  5. As for the Governor of RI, she is enforcing a quarantine. If martial law needs to be declared, then do it so that this plague can go away and we can all be free. Any travel restrictions of citizens needs to be short.

    The county of Los Angeles has declared a quarantine under penalty of fine or imprisonment. So, you can steal up to $950 without repercussion, but if you go to a relative’s house, you risk imprisionment…in a jail that the state has already been emptying because it’s unfair to expose inmates to the virus. They waited until Covid-19 was already detected in the prisons, and then once all the inmates were exposed, they released them into the general population to do a really good job of robbing and infecting them.

    I live in a rural area. We don’t have the infrastructure to deal with a major plague. We don’t have the internet to all work from home or have our children learn online. That’s the downside. But we’ve never had the votes to get taken care of the way the urban areas do, which is why they hog all the resources we are forced to pay in to. We pay property taxes, plus extra taxes that target us rural folk. But when the city people dump their trash on our dirt roads, the city won’t clean it up because dirt roads are private and no county maintained. On the other hand, we have room to walk around and sunshine out here.

        1. Karen, obviously I was not speaking of the pandemic, but of your complaints about the county not taking the expense of maintaining your private road, which is not the world’s problem.

  6. Environmentalists want to force us into cities and mass transit. In CA, “Road Diets” are an effort to force people, against their will, to use mass transit, which was never designed for the sprawl of CA.

    I’ve said many times that I’d never want to on the subway during flu season. I think this pandemic takes it up to a whole new level. When you crowd people, you get more disease. That’s been true throughout human history.

    Environmentalists wanted us all to get rid of our garage refrigerators. There have been programs in CA to try to get people to discard them as energy hogs. People need them now to store food.

    The elites sneer upon the rural folk with regularity. But I can go outside on my acres of land, play catch with my kids, ride my horses, and I’ve got eggs to eat, while the city folk either break quarantine, or stay trapped in tiny apartments. The only thing I’m missing is a Victory Garden, and it might come down to war with the ground squirrels so I can get it.

    We are all stuck in quarantine as long as there are those who refuse to follow the rules. Plus, grocery stores have taken the exact opposite approach that they should have. Instead of transitioning to delivery only, people crowd into long lines to get basic necessities. That virtually guarantees the spread of Covid-19. You can stay home all you want, but if you go out and then get into a crowd at the grocery store, you’ve wasted your time. And everyone else’s.

    Plus, this assures that there will be sick people in the grocery store, contaminating the food. And once the grocery store employees get sick, it has to close, and no more food source in that area.

    Similarly, the more health care workers get sick, the more there is a shortage when the need is greatest.

    1. Karen, the world’s 7+ billion humans can’t all live on acreage in the country, or if they do, your gas will be much more costly. Same goes for our 330 million in America. I understand your joy in your relatively unique conditions – I have similar ones – and hope you continue to enjoy them, but your choice is not an ethical one as you pretend and cannot be emulated by all.

      No one should be hoarding food at this point, and it is true that old refrigerators are much less energy efficient than new ones.

      1. Not ethical to live in the country? Sounds like the rationale to force people to live in cities, give up their cars, and get rid of all the horses. And beef cattle, too, as there are some who believe that eating meat is unethical. That is not freedom. I find cities to be depressing, dirty, crowded, and the air is bad. Not good for asthma. Plus people spend all their time inside, which is bad for our species.

        Keeping food in the freezer is not “hoarding food.” Nor is going longer between grocery store trips. People are less worried about the extra electricity at this point than they are about getting sick at the grocery store, or finding toilet paper.

        1. Plus 1000! Karen

          I’m thinking the zombies of the mega blue state anti American sh*t hole cities , LA,SanFran/Portland/NYC?etc…. are beyond help. What or how else could I explain what is happening around them?

          I’m thinking places like Oklahoma that grow the food & raise/butcher the meat, energy, that these type states start boycotting the blue state/commie sh*tholes by stop selling them our food/energy.

          Let them eat their murdered post birth aborted babies instead.

        2. Karen, my bad to not be more clear. I didn’t mean to say your choice of living in rural circumstance was unethical. I said your choice wasn’t ethical, meaning it was an a-ethical choice not available to most humans, nor one that would be good for you if they tried. Rather than appreciating your circumstances, you have a chip on your shoulder about those – most Americans – who don’t live in rural areas. By the way, I haven’t lived in a city or suburb for more almost 3/4s of my long life. I consider myself lucky, not morally superior for that, though many don’t wish to emulate my choice.

      2. No one should be hoarding food at this point… I fell out of my chair. what a moronic statement

    2. here’s what you do with the squirrels.

      a) shoot them
      b) clean them– see below
      c) eat them

      rabbits are big garden wreckers too but they have a different method for cleaning

      1. Kurtz, I’m at Caddyshack level with the squirrels and other critters going after every attempt at gardening. Ever time a brave green shoot pokes its head above the ground, the ravening hordes of ground squirrels, rabbits, mice, and birds, go for it. We live next to open space so there is a never ending supply. I am going to try again but inside a garden prison, with wire on all four sides, floor, and ceiling. That ought to do it. Unless the critters learn how to use wire cutters, and they might.

        It’s funny that you said that about the squirrels. My neighbor is a dead shot. I have seen him shoot a rattler right from the hip. He said it was from all the practice squirrel shooting. I’m considering it, since I won’t use poison.

        1. Karen, sounds to me like you have a market spot for selling high dollar dog food at the least.

    3. Karen, this place you speak of sounds nice. I’m packing my bag, ill be there soon, roomie 😉

    4. Hi Karen, Et al,

      FYI: Sarc, getting hammered in cases like theses times doesn’t necessarily mean to much booze or drugs, it could mean that the on going destruction of income streams or at least hedging forward & stocking up up on a few extra jumbo packs of toilet paper.

      Beyond all that other stuff why in the hell would people of the immediately surrender up their Bill Of Rights & all other US Constitutional protect that make the USA???

      To many stupid people I guess?

      And be sure to take the govt’s /big pharma’s hardly test vaccine for a virus they started cooking up with USA/Chicom funding in Chapel Hill NC & later at Wuhan stage 4 Bio Weapon Labs!


  7. I live in upstate New York. We have seen several bizarre actions taken by our governor. One example is the absurd bail reform law which allows individuals to walk away with an appearance ticket rather than having to post bail. Last week individuals who had been incarcerated in the county jail were ordered to be moved to a suburban hotel. Governor Cuomo has had lots of photo ops recently as the state grapples with COVID-19. Some of us think that he might be angling to replace Joe Biden on the Democrats ticket.

    1. Cassidy, I hope you are well. Glad you are in upstate and not in the city. How is the outbreak in your neck of the woods?

  8. Somehow I don’t think governor Cuomo has any jurisdiction in Rhode Island. Mario, go pound sand.

  9. If you can shut down life activities within a state (retail, schools both private and public, church, personal gatherings, etc) then you can certainly close down your borders with another state. I’m not saying I agree with either one – but those who support one, can’t logically/constitutionally/rationally not support the other. Either you prefer a police state to handle the crisis or you don’t.

  10. My new doctor will not see anyone in the office who has been out of the country lately. All telemed.

    I think the governor is on sound ground, If you can close churches, you can close borders.

    1. Governers definitely can erect borders.

      In Hubei and contiguous province they erected blockades to prevent inter-city travel, not just inter-province travel.
      I informed here about this a month ago.

      It will come here too. Governors have police powers and courts will stay out of their way

      The closing of Interstate highways is perhaps a violation of federal dictates, but governors can and will do what they deem necessary. It’s how this cookie crumbles

      it it gets bad enough you will see private citizens erect their own checkpoints. sawhorses, shotguns, and “community watch” teams. perhaps not until the firing starts but that seems to be as much a possibility as ever

  11. I think its of note. The Governor has since changed her executive order. It does not single out NY exclusively anymore, it says any state now.

    1. She did.

      I live on an island off the coast of Rhode Island. All visitors now are monitored by cops as they arrive on the ferry. Which is unfair in itself because there’s a small airport and i don’t think the surveillance there is anywhere near as strict.

      On the one hand, it’s excessive. On the other, there’s just a small medical center with no hospital bed and only one doctor in the ‘off season’. Things are balanced on a precarious edge. Also, only a couple cops. A Covid 19 outbreak would be a serious threat with such small infrastructure.

      Ultimately, Cuomo is right…, the issue isn’t where you’re from, it’s crowd density. The tendency to shift into ‘bring out your dead’ territory is indeed dangerous. But, as we’ll see when Covid 19 shifts more into rural territory nationally, with small police forces and small hospitals much more susceptible to overwhelm than big metropolitan areas, we’ll all see up close how Covid 19 is going to test the edges there just as in NYC right now.

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