New Mexico Governor Withstands Lawsuits Over Pandemic Orders | New Mexico Information

By MORGAN LEE, Related Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico residents who say they endured constitutional rights violations, despair and anxiousness below aggressive public well being restrictions through the coronavirus outbreak have deserted a lawsuit in opposition to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after most allegations have been dismissed by a decide.

The transfer got here after a string of antagonistic rulings in state and federal courts for plaintiffs in a number of lawsuits that challenged the authority of the Democratic governor and state well being officers to impose public well being restrictions, comparable to masks mandates, that have been phased out earlier this 12 months.

New Mexico imposed a number of the most aggressive public well being restrictions within the U.S. through the pandemic — mandating face masks, halting in-person exercise at nonessential companies and permitting public faculties to droop in-person classroom instructing for a few 12 months. The orders withstood repeated authorized challenges.

Lawyer Jonathan Diener mentioned Tuesday {that a} dozen plaintiffs dropped their lawsuit in opposition to Lujan Grisham and state well being officers after a federal Justice of the Peace decide final week dismissed most of their claims.

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The plaintiffs included a pet meals enterprise in Rio Rancho, a martial arts studio in Bernalillo, a restaurant in Silver Metropolis and a member of an Albuquerque-based megachurch. The lawsuit sought to restrict future public well being emergency declarations.

Diener mentioned the lawsuit now not appeared viable, although the federal decide had allowed claims to maneuver ahead about doable infringements on spiritual freedoms through the state’s preliminary shutdown of in-person gatherings at church buildings and different locations of worship.

One plaintiff, a member of the Albuquerque-based Calvery Chapel, alleged that she was denied expression of her spiritual beliefs and that she suffered despair and anxiousness set in from social isolation through the pandemic.

Three lawsuits in opposition to Lujan Grisham and her public well being orders are nonetheless pending in U.S. District Court docket in Albuquerque and the tenth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals in Denver.

New Mexico state judges have persistently backed the governor’s authority to impose broad public well being orders.

The New Mexico Supreme Court docket in August 2020 affirmed the authority of the state well being secretary to limit or shut companies due to the coronavirus pandemic, rejecting assertions {that a} short-term ban on indoor eating companies was arbitrary and capricious.

In June 2021, the state’s high court docket dominated that there isn’t any constitutional or statutory requirement to compensate companies for monetary losses brought on by emergency public well being orders.

Allegations of financial hardship below the orders have been blunted considerably by billions of {dollars} in federal and state help that was funneled to New Mexico residents and companies to maintain payrolls and unemployment funds with out corresponding tax will increase.

The New Mexico Supreme Court docket additionally has dominated that the Legislature was allowed to limit in-person entry to the state Capitol because of the pandemic.

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