- The Washington Times
Monday, May 4, 2020


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot threatened citizens and city-goers with arrest, imprisonment and fines if they dared step foot into the streets, in violation of her COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Wow. Talk about cracking the government whip.

Can you say Constitution, anyone?

How about ‘Bite me, you blowhard, Lori” — can you say that?

Here’s what Lightfoot said, as The Blaze noted: “We will shut you down, we will cite you, and if we need to, we will arrest you and we will take you to jail. Don’t make us treat you like a criminal, but if you act like a criminal and you violate the law and you refuse to do what is necessary to save lives in this city in the middle of a pandemic, we will take you to jail, period.”

If only Lightfoot would get so tough on Chicago’s gang problem, maybe the city wouldn’t have such a reputation for violence and bloody, senseless death.

“I’m not playing,” Lightfoot put out on her Twitter account, with the hashtag #StayHomeSaveLives.

What an over-the-top, blustery, elitist government order.

It’s one thing for government officials to recommend best practices for citizens.

It’s one thing for bureaucrats to declare emergency situations and then use those declarations to pile on some mandates and orders and regulations for citizens to abide.

It’s another thing entirely for government to then come out swinging against citizens, threatening them in tones dripping of braggadocio and arrogance — threatening them with arrest and fines and imprisonment and, oh, what have you. 

There’s a “come and get me, copper” citizen challenge just waiting to happen.

Honestly, what would be the charge?

And therein lies the problem with government’s attempt to order citizens around, absent law. It’s sort of difficult to come up with the charge. At least one that will stick in court.

Lightfoot can bluster and blunder and threaten and intimidate all she wants.

But absent actual code or law or duly passed ordinance, her threats are just that: threats. Threats that very likely won’t stand the scrutiny of legal, lawful court challenge. COVID-19, after all, isn’t government’s free pass to run roughshod over the Constitution — no matter how much government says it is.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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