STATEMENT ON DEWINE MASK ORDERS
July 10, 2020
Yes, the Governor’s Selective Mask Mandate is Unconstitutional (in several ways). Here’s what you need to know:
- The Director of the Ohio Department of Health cannot criminalize otherwise-lawful conduct, especially irrespective of intent. Nor may it do so in a non-uniform manner. After our victory in State v. Brearley, no person has been successfully prosecuted for violating a health director’s order in 134 years.
- Practically nobody is forced to wear a mask: there are 13 exceptions, which, cumulatively, are broad enough to exempt anyone at anytime and anyplace. Bottom line: if you don’t want to wear a mask, you don’t have to. And if you’re wearing a mask, it’s because you’re choosing to do so.
- The Order contains no enforcement mechanisms: it designates no state or local agency to enforce the order. And this failure to designate local enforcement agencies intentional: the Governor wants all lawsuit be filed against ODH alone and thus venued in Franklin County, where he is certain to win.
- Because everyone is exempt and there is no enforcement mechanism, lawsuits against this mandate will fail if you do not have a written warning, threat, or citation from a local governmental authority.
- Lawsuits against this mandate will also fail if you attempt them in counties with unfit judicial systems, such as Cuyahoga, Lorain, Franklin, Montgomery, or Hamilton.
- In the interim, you’re entitled to disobey these orders, and we will defend those who are prosecuted.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.