What legal rights do Americans have to disobey stay-at-home orders?

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A woman participates in a “Liberate Minnesota” protest in St. Paul. In other cities around the country, including in California, residents are urging lawmakers to reopen the economy. Photo credit: Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA 2.0). 

Over the weekend, protestors in San Diego demanded that Governor Gavin Newsom lift California’s month-old stay-at-home order. Similar protests erupted in Huntington Beach, San Clemente, and other cities across the country. Police didn’t arrest anyone in California. 

In some cases, far-right activists are behind the Facebook groups that have been pushing for these demonstrations. They appear to be doing it with President Trump’s blessing. Trump tweeted Friday “Liberate Michigan” and “Liberate Minnesota” in response to protests there. 

In the early days of the pandemic, a handful of states set up checkpoints at their borders, pulling over people with out-of-state license plates and ordering them to quarantine for 14 days. In some states, like Florida and Texas, travelers also need to provide government officials with an address so public health officials could check in on them. These orders have been coming under increasing scrutiny.  

Credits

Guest:
Jessica Levinson - Professor, LMU's Loyola Law School in Los Angeles - @LevinsonJessica

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin