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Adams County prosecutor latest to decry Idaho stay-home order as unconstitutional

COUNCIL — A prosecuting attorney in rural Idaho has announced that he will not be enforcing Gov. Brad Little’s statewide stay-home order, arguing that the order is unconstitutional.
Christopher Boyd, prosecuting attorney for Adams County, sent a letter to Little on Thursday saying he cannot in good faith issue citations to those who are out of compliance with the stay-home order. On March 25, Little issued a statewide order in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The same day, it was announced that Idaho had its first confirmed case of community spread within its borders.
“While I genuinely believe your intent is to safeguard the lives of Idahoans, the order infringes upon sacred First Amendment rights, most particularly the right to peacefully assemble as well as the free exercise of religion,” Boyd wrote.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has already defended Little’s order and has said its legality is clearly defined. Wasden said that the order is well within the governor’s constitutional boundaries and that he would be happy to provide a legal defense if the need should arise.
Boyd argued that the governor’s order violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment as well as the interstate commerce clause under Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
He continued, saying that death estimates for the virus have continued to trend downward and thus do not merit the government to issue such orders.
“In a country where almost 3 million persons die for any number of reasons each year, this death rate does not warrant trampling upon sacred constitutional rights,” Boyd wrote. “Because these deaths do not even rival those of heart disease (more than 500,000 per year), the order currently violates substantive due process.”
Boyd conceded that an emphasis on personal hygiene and social distancing is necessary to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, but he decried the order to stay home as an overreach by the government.
“Sir, is not freedom dearer than our very lives? This is not yet our dilemma, but should it become so, I pray you will stand for freedom,” he wrote.
Boyd wrote that he hopes the governor will suspend the order or choose not to recertify the measure, which is set to expire on April 15.
Little’s stay-home order has drawn the ire of some Republican elected officials around the state, as well as from the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

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