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Armstrong v. Newsom (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Cir., Dec. 22, 2021): Plaintiff Armstrong sued California Governor Gavin Newsom, alleging that Governor Newsom’s March 2020 Executive Order ordering Californians to “stay home” to prevent the spread of COVID-19 violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court dismissed all claims, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal. The appellate court held that the claims were barred by qualified immunity because the Governor “did not violate clearly established law,” referencing Jacobson v. Massachusetts, a 1905 Supreme Court case upholding state authority to impose a smallpox vaccine mandate. The court held that the stay-at-home order had a “real or substantial relation to protecting public health” and was not an “invasion of rights.” Requiring Californians to stay home was clearly related to the order’s purpose of “bend[ing] the curve[] and disrupt[ing] the spread of the virus.” Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – February 15, 2022.

View all cases under “COVID-19 Pandemic: Public Health Emergency Law & Policy Responses.