The Ramsey City Council nullified Governor Walz' illegal mask mandate last night. A resolution offered by Councilmembers Chelsee Howell and Ryan Heineman states that city resources cannot be used to enforce executive orders by the Governor, most notably the mask mandate. It reads:
The Ramsey City Council hereby orders that CITY RESOURCES, whether physical, financial or otherwise, including but not limited to law enforcement, city staff and personnel, city contractors and subcontractors or assistance of any kind tied to the city, or any cooperation to any government including federal, state, or county, SHALL NOT be used to enforce any of Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Orders, including but not limited to, Executive Order 20-81 and any other orders that infringe on people’s constitutionally protected rights, especially as it related to COVID-19.
No surprise, the city attorney advised against the motion stating to the Star Tribune "You can't ignore [the executive order] because you disagree with it," he said before the vote. "It still has the full force of the law." The entire Minnesota legal system appears to believe that our system of government where laws are passed only by the legislature has been suspended until Walz is wiling to give up his self-declared powers.
But that didn't discourage the council which voted 4-3 to pass the measure. Citing protections afforded in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. the authors of the resolution argued that government can't take away people's liberty. The executive orders issued under Governor Walz are in conflict with the Constitutional protections.
We spoke to Councilwoman Howell who stated "that critics often argue that [people supporting loosening COVID restrictions] are selfish, but the greatest gift is to allow each individual to make a decision that they think is best for themselves." Isn't that the American system of government in a nutshell? Our founders did not create a government to tell people how to live their lives; rather, it was designed to protect their life, liberty and property.
Keep this in mind: the courts are not the final arbiters of the Constitution. Elected officials have a duty to interpret the Constitution differently than judges and pass laws or ordinances that protect individuals' rights.