Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga indicates that people gathering at churches are violating his rule under an executive order in the CV-19 panic.
He says even people remaining in their cars with their windows rolled up and attending Easter worship “will be considered a violation of our directives.”
Mayor Berke has no authority to regulate the gathering of people under our state constitution and he has no authority to regulate Easter worship services of any group of Christians or any group of people whatever.
Saying, however, that the people’s doing these things may be “a violation of our directives” is not going as far as he could. He could threaten them with arrest and abuse under his department of police.
The police department is entirely serving the mayor, as an executive branch agency.
The police department violates numerous laws such as misapplying the shipping, freight, trucking, transportation statute upon people not involved in shaping, freight, trucking or transportation. It also routinely violates Tennessee Code Ann. § 40-7-103, grounds for arrest by officer without a warrant.
In these areas, Mayor Berke, an attorney and Democrat, persists in abusing the people of Chattanooga and those who are here as visitors.
It may be that worship services on the Lord’s day and Easter violate the rules. He may be wise and leave it at that, hoping that threat and intimidation gets him more or less what he wants — that people stay home.
To enforce his edict by police arrest power is a dangerous step for him personally. He would acting under color of law, under color of a state emergency order which is also unconstitutional, in his personal capacity as a human being of the male sex.
Does Berke suspend constitution?
Does he suspend the constitution? Ask Mayor Berke.
If he says no, then he has no authority and his order is empty threat.
If he says yes, then he has no authority, because he swore to uphold the constitution and is powerless to act against anyone without a law or statute or ordinance that is in keeping with its provisions that might purport to ban assembly and religion.
One TN district attorney says hold on
Brent Cooper, a district attorney in Lawrence County in Middle Tennessee, says don’t be too quick to overturn the state’s premier body of law. In a FB post, he lays out his views: