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Under emergency ordinance, Mayor Feinen and unelected City Manager David more powerful than Governor Pritzker or President Trump

Champaign, IL — The Champaign County Libertarian Party today denounced the unanimously passed emergency ordinance as a backdoor power grab due to the COVID-19 virus.  The ordinance does not stipulate timelines nor causation for suspending property rights or elimination of commerce.

“This ordinance grants Mayor Feinen and our unelected City Administrator Dorothy David, the power to seize property and take title, prohibit the sale of firearms, gasoline, and alcohol, ban meetings, cancel events, enforce a curfew, prohibit the movement of free people in and out of the city and direct the shutoff of utilities and water.  I would have assumed this city council would defend an individual’s private property rights, even in times of emergency.  The ordinance does not stipulate the emergency conditions this ordinance can be enacted under or even stipulate that the actions of the Mayor must be relevant to the emergency at hand.”

Even under a Congressional declaration of war, a government may commandeer or seize property but the property owner is required to be compensated for such seizure under the 5th Amendment.  The emergency ordinance passed today makes no provision.  Detention without reason is rarely used outside of wartime as well.  Most court decisions on firearms and ammunition sales stipulate that it is firmly under control of Federal and State laws, not municipal ordinances, and outright bans on firearms or munition sales have been found unconstitutional.  Many cities have enacted ‘Climate Emergency’ ordinances.  Combined with this ordinance, the Mayor’s office could ban the sale of gasoline and diesel and shut off natural gas supplies to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.

“Outside of being invaded by a foreign power, there is no reason for such an ordinance to be written, much less enacted.  People should be concerned about the spread of COVID-19 but should not sacrifice their rights to a government so keen to tell them what they can or cannot do. Our government should be encouraging public spacing and personal hygiene, not creating pretexts to grow the power of government.  This ordinance should be repealed at the next city council meeting.”

Russ Clark
Champaign County Libertarian Party