State’s highest court to hear arguments over lawsuit on Baker’s pandemic response

BOSTON (WHDH) - A lawsuit that claims Gov. Charlie Baker overstepped his legal authority during the coronavirus pandemic is being taken up in the state’s highest court Friday.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit filed by lawyers with the New Civil Liberties Alliance on behalf of local plaintiffs, claiming that the Civil Defense Act cited by the administration does not cover pandemics and that local authorities should have driven response to the public health crisis.

Paul Carney and the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance are backing the lawsuit.

“What we’re trying to do is compel the governor to follow the Massachusetts’ Public Health Act because that act was originated by the legislature and is part of the Democratic process and follows our state constitution,” Carney said.

The lawsuit argues that Baker should not be taking one-sided actions without the legislature.

“I don’t necessarily blame him for trying his best; I think he has good intention and a lot of our politicians do,” Carney said. “What I fear is down the road where less serious policy-oriented situations could come up and the next politician could say, ‘Well this should be approved with this mechanism.'”

Baker stands by the executive orders that have been put in place amid the pandemic and says he feels they saved lives.

“So I think, I certainly believe that, you know, has everything gone perfect, of course not, but I do believe that that authority was there, and has been there, to deal with disasters, and I find it hard to believe that anybody wouldn’t consider what’s going on with COVID to be a disaster that needed to be dealt with,” he said.

Depending on the SJC decision, Baker could be forced to reverse some of his actions.

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