|Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at Louisiana’s next phase of reopening, a California coronavirus bill providing paid sick leave, an update to a lawsuit over Arizona’s bar closure, and more. Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.|
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What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.
Daily feature: Featured lawsuit
Once a week, we take a closer look at a noteworthy lawsuit involving governmental responses to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. We define a noteworthy lawsuit as one that has garnered significant media attention, involves major advocacy groups, or deals with unique legal questions. This week, we look at a lawsuit involving COVID-19 restrictions in Arizona.
Aguila v. Ducey
On Sept. 8, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pamela Gates declined to block Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) COVID-19 business restrictions, which close bars while allowing restaurants to remain open and serve alcohol.
What is at issue?
In their complaint, which was originally filed in the state supreme court, a group of Arizona bar owners argued they were discriminated against because of their on their liquor license series. They said bars with “series 6 or 7 liquor licenses are subject to closure orders in Executive Order 2020-43,” while roughly 5,000 restaurant bars, hotel bars, microbreweries, wineries, private clubs, distilleries, tasting rooms, which have different series liquor licenses, remained open. They said Ducey’s restrictions were an unconstitutional delegation of authority; exceeded statutory rulemaking authority granted by Arizona law; arbitrarily discriminated against plaintiffs and deprive them of their property, in violation of the state constitution; and violated the Equal Protection and Takings Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
How did the court rule?
Citing the “unrelenting spread of the novel coronavirus,” Gates found that “the public interest is overwhelmingly in favor of the continuation of” Ducey’s orders. Gates ruled there is “no inherent right in a citizen to … sell intoxicating liquors by retail,” and further, the governor’s restrictions “are rationally related to expert data and guidance on minimizing the spread of COVID-19.”
What are the reactions, and what comes next?
Attorney Ilan Wurman, representing the bar owners, acknowledged the likelihood of failure on the merits, saying he hoped to “get a summary judgment ruling quickly and just move on to the appeal.”