BOSTON (AP) – The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday not to hear an appeal of a ruling that found Governor Charlie Baker had not overstepped his authority with sweeping orders to shut down businesses and to limit gatherings to control the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic.

The country’s highest court on Monday announced without comment that it would not consider the appeal.

The lawsuit argued that Baker did not have the authority to issue public health-related orders under the State Civil Defense Act, which she said was designed to protect the state from foreign invasions, insurgencies and catastrophic events like hurricanes and fires.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court of Justice, the state’s highest court, dismissed the challenge in December, filed on behalf of a group including salon owners, pastors and the principal of a private school. They accused the Republican governor of exercising “legislative police power” by declaring a state of emergency under the Civil Defense Act.

The Massachusetts court said the pandemic clearly deserves action from the governor under Cold War-era law. He also rejected the trial’s argument that the governor’s actions violated people’s constitutional rights to due process and free assembly.

“Since COVID-19 is a pandemic that has killed more than a million people around the world, it spreads from person to person, effective vaccines have not yet been distributed, there is no there is no known cure and an increase in cases threatens to invade the Commonwealth Hospital. system, it’s a natural cause for which action is needed, ”the Massachusetts court said in its December decision.

The governor declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020, giving him more power to take measures such as closing events with large gatherings of people or accessing buildings or storing safety equipment. protection.

He then issued a series of emergency orders banning gatherings of a certain size, closing some businesses and imposing masks aimed at slowing the spread of the disease in the hard-hit state.

More than 18,200 Massachusetts residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

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