Dept. of the AG prevails in federal challenge to COVID-19 emergency proclamations
The US District Court for the District of Hawaiʻi dismissed a federal constitutional challenge to COVID-19 emergency proclamations issued by former Governor David Ige.
Gov. Ige issued the first emergency proclamation concerning COVID-19 on March 4, 2020, and thereafter issued multiple supplemental EPs regarding the global pandemic’s impact on Hawaiʻi. The last COVID-19 EP in Hawaiʻi expired on March 25, 2022.
The Plaintiffs—the nonprofit “For Our Rights” corporation and five residents of Kauaʻi—sought monetary damages, claiming that Gov. Ige violated their due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution by issuing the subject EPs without first making individualized health assessments, offering timely notice about the requirement to quarantine and the right to challenge it, and holding hearings.
US District Court Judge Jill A. Otake rejected these arguments and dismissed the case, holding that the Fourteenth Amendment did not require that the EPs provide for individualized notice or hearings and that the quarantine requirement in the EPs did not constitute a “seizure” within the meaning of the Constitution.
“The COVID-19 Emergency Proclamations were lawful and addressed the unprecedented impact of a global pandemic on our islands,” said Deputy Attorney General Skyler Cruz, who served as lead counsel in the litigation. “We are grateful for the Court’s thoughtful and well-reasoned analysis.”