Four page “Order Closing Atilis Gym Located At 363 W Browning Rd, Bellmawr” posted on right is signed by NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. She issued her order in violation of every element of “due process”. She issued the order without any evidence to support her claim that preventing young, healthy people working out at the gym would “save lives”. So far, the biggest single cause of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths in New Jersey was Persichelli’s order directing all nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients last March.
The owners of the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ are making a big mistake. They act as if New Jersey is a Constitutional republic and run by the same ideas Abraham Lincoln described in his speeches.
Lincoln often said our nation was “conceived in liberty” and dedicated to these “sentiments” of our Declaration of Independence.
We are all created equal and “endowed by our Creator” with certain “unalienable” rights. Governments “are instituted” to secure them.
Those “sentiments” are also found in the first paragraph of New Jersey’s State Constitution:
“All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness”.
These founding documents recognize that every American should be free to make the most important choices affecting our own lives — as long we don’t interfere with the equal rights of everyone else to do the same.
Yet Americans were always practical. Our courts recognized that in rare times of extreme danger, we would temporarily have to give up some of our freedom.
However, our courts applied a “strict scrutiny” test whenever government action infringes on a fundamental Constitutional right. The government has the burden of showing a “compelling state or government interest” to do so. The government must also use the “most narrowly tailored” and “least restrictive” means to achieve its goal.
Governor Murphy, and his Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, claim they shut down businesses like the Atilis Gym to “stop the spread of coronavirus” and “save lives”. However, that claim does not survive “strict scrutiny”.
- The Atilis Gym applied the same cleaning and social distance practices as other businesses allowed to stay open.
- All patrons and employees of the Atilis Gym were healthy and under 50 years old. It is “settled science” that coronavirus is rarely life threatening for them.
- Governor Murphy’s March 16 lockdown was imposed to “slow the spread” and “flatten the curve”. It was to postpone infections so that our hospitals would not be overwhelmed like in Italy. Here in New Jersey, the curve was flat and there were plenty of empty hospital beds since early April.
- Many respected scientists believe the goal of public health should be to protect the old and sick. They believe our country would be much better off if everyone who is young and healthy quickly gets a mild case and develops immunity–like in Sweden.
If New Jersey were still a Constitutional republic, Murphy’s lockdown orders would have been thrown out by the courts and Legislature more than a month ago. However, we are now something else.
New Jersey is now a state where most voters falsely believe they are part of some helpless minority group that is not treated fairly. They believe they need Governor Murphy and a “progressive” Democratic Party running a big government to protect them.
This started in the 1960’s when “progressive” Democrats came up with a new idea to win national elections. They would identify and win support from groups of voters who had been treated unfairly in the past. Then, they would bundle these “victim” minority groups into a “Rainbow Coalition” majority.
These “victim” groups included blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, women, and LBGTQ. Americans had built coalitions to win elections and fix problems for 300 years. However, these new “progressive” Democrats did something different.
They used the schools, media, and Hollywood and TV to convince members of these “victim” groups that America was an evil, unfair nation run by selfish, aggressive, and violent white men who would never give them a fair chance. Their only hope was to elect “progressive” Democrats to protect them. Fifty years later, “progressive” Democrats have complete political control of New Jersey.
The owners of the Atilis Gym and other business owners have good reason to oppose and defy Democratic Governor Murphy. They desperately want to reopen so they can pay their bills, feed their families, and save what they spent years to build.
Unfortunately most members of the “Rainbow Coalition” of victim groups don’t see them that way. Most members of this “Rainbow Coalition” of “victim” groups have been indoctrinated to ignore the facts, and see only as angry and dangerous white men who to need to be controlled by a government run by “progressive” Democrats. That is why NJ Governor Phil Murphy is more popular than ever.
Seth Grossman, Executive Director