RICHMOND, Va. -- Prominent minister and former Republican nominee for Lt. Governor accuses Governor Ralph Northam of an unlawful power grab. Jackson is consulting with attorneys on filing an injunction to stop the Stay-At-Home order.
"This is a problem nationwide," says the Bishop. "Governors and Mayors are taking upon themselves powers they do not have. First of all, no elected official has constitutional power to order the citizens to do anything. They can advise and recommend, and count on the decency of the American people to cooperate with reasonable requests, but the only people they can give orders to are those who work for them. The people do not work for them. They work for us."
Jackson says that Governor Northam has gone beyond what any other Governor has done. Northam has ordered Virginians to stay at home until June 10th, which happens to be the day after the statewide Republican primary. Republicans are accusing him of playing politics by picking that particular date.
"Northam is playing politics while Virginia is hemorrhaging jobs," says Jackson. "Instead of a measured response which could be re-evaluated periodically, Northam has put Virginians on house arrest for nearly three months. He is acting like a third world dictator and destroying Virginia's economy."
The Bishop, a retired attorney, also claims that Article V, Section 7 of the Virginia Constitution does not give Northam the authority he claims. It says, "The Governor shall be commander-in-chief..." Jackson says, "As such he has the right to command Virginia's armed forces, not Virginia's citizens."
Virginia Code Section 44-146.17, says, "The Governor...shall take such action from time to time as is necessary for the adequate promotion and coordination of state and local emergency services activities relating to the safety and welfare of the Commonwealth in time of disasters."
"That statute," says Bishop Jackson, "gives the Governor power to promote and coordinate emergency services, nothing more. Governor Northam is either being dishonest or he is ignorant of the Constitution. Either way, his actions must be challenged."
Jackson is Senior Pastor of The Called Church in Chesapeake, Virginia. He has encouraged his congregation to observe the President's guidelines, but has continued to hold worship services.
SOURCE Bishop E.W. Jackson