Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch says the use of emergency powers during COVID harmed civil liberties

Gorsuch has always been critical of any usage of emergency powers granted to the government.
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Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch called the emergency powers that were used during the COVID-19 pandemic a mass intrusion of civil liberties earlier this week. 

“Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country. Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale,” Gorsuch wrote in a statement

The statement was attached to a case that the Supreme Court dismissed as moot earlier this week that sought to keep Title 42 in place. Title 42 allowed the U.S. to quickly deport asylum-seekers to contain the spread of COVID, but it was ended earlier this month. 

Gorsuch has been a frequent critic of how government officials during the pandemic used laws granting expanded executive authority during emergencies, arguing that COVID was unjustifiably being used as a pretext.   

“And it is hard not to wonder whether, after nearly a half century and in light of our Nation’s recent experience, another look is warranted,” Gorsuch wrote, referencing those laws, according to The Hill

“It is hard not to wonder, too, whether state legislatures might profitably reexamine the proper scope of emergency executive powers at the state level,” he continued. “At the very least, one can hope that the Judiciary will not soon again allow itself to be part of the problem by permitting litigants to manipulate our docket to perpetuate a decree designed for one emergency to address another.”

While Gorsuch’s statement did not specify his vote in the Title 42 case, he wrote that its “dismissal goes some way to correcting that error.”