July 6, 2020
Gibson Dunn’s lawyers regularly counsel clients on issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are working with many of our clients on their response to COVID-19. The following is a round-up of today’s client alerts on this topic prepared by the Gibson Dunn team. Our lawyers are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding developments related to the outbreak. As always, for additional information, please feel free to contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work, or any member of the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team.
In a series of Gibson Dunn client alerts, we discussed the constitutional limitations on governmental responses to COVID-19 under the Takings, Contracts, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, and have also considered how the constitutional right to travel and the Dormant Commerce Clause limits governmental actors. A number of businesses and others subject to COVID-19 regulations have now filed suit challenging governmental actions as unconstitutional, including under some of the same theories we identified in these alerts.
Some plaintiffs have alleged that state and local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly shut-down orders, have effected unconstitutional takings without just compensation, are arbitrary and irrational and deprive them of fair notice and equal protection, and violate their right to travel. Other plaintiffs have brought Freedom of Assembly, Association, and Petition claims under the First Amendment, while still others have raised Dormant Commerce Clause objections or challenges under the Republican Guarantee Clause. So far, while all courts have recognized that constitutional restrictions bind governmental actors even during emergencies, plaintiffs’ challenges have had mixed success. Originally published by Thomson Reuters/Westlaw on July 1, 2020.