By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Our state and country have been, understandably, so focused on the health emergency that it is easy to lose sight of one important fact. Our fundamental rights and freedoms not only do not disappear during a crisis, they actually come to the fore in a more concrete and conspicuous way than in normal times. In fact, our rights are most important in times like these.

There is no doubt that the virus deserves–and has been given–our country’s full medical, health and safety attention. However, perhaps for the first time in our nation’s history, we have quarantined and largely immobilized healthy people. The fact is that our citizens, in huge numbers, have lost their liberty—their religious freedom, their freedom of expressive activity – including freedom of association, freedom of movement and mobility, and freedom to peacefully assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances (i.e. including the small demonstrations we are beginning to see across the country). Further, we may also be losing our right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” as well: for example, if law enforcement or other government entity comes, uninvited and without a warrant and probable cause, onto private property, or, if government undertakes covert surveillance of us through our cell phones to see, for example, whether we are abiding by the stay at home orders, these trespasses amount to an erosion of private property rights and an invasion of privacy. Broadly speaking, such government conduct contravenes the 5th and 14th Amendment guarantees that we cannot be denied our rights to life, liberty and property without due process of law.

For these reasons, our current status cannot exist indefinitely. Our U.S. Constitution trumps state law and state emergency/crisis orders. There is no exception or exemption in the Constitution for a health crisis. It also doesn’t yield to any other body of law. It is the supreme and final authority and, while it is designed to insure that the states and the people retain the majority of power in our free society, the specific enumerated rights that are exclusively the province of the Constitution include protecting from government suppression the freedoms of press, free exercise of religion, expressive activities, protection of private property rights and privacy, and numerous others.

We will, undoubtedly, continue to do everything we possibly can to protect those who suffer from, or are most susceptible to, the virus. However, that is not the only consideration in this critical balancing of interests. The large majority of 330 million Americans are having their lives, including their jobs–and, thereby, their families–damaged if not destroyed. This cannot be allowed to happen. While the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a nuanced need to allow government to modify the behavior of citizens during a crisis, these allowances are supposed to present a compelling government interest and be narrow, specific and limited; no more extensive than the threat reasonably demands. Hence, while government should move with greater urgency and efficiency to exercise the powers it legitimately possesses, it may not assume greater power simply because we are in a crisis. If we don’t see these rights protected by our government, the small demonstrations across the country we are beginning to witness will become much louder, larger and more widespread.

P.O. Box 1837
Shreveport, LA 71166
Phone: (318) 344-7030

18 U.S. Code § 242.Deprivation of rights under color of law
U.S. Code

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.


  1. Eyes wide open, blind. Ears shut to truth. Mouths gaping, full of lies and vulgarities. WH tweets, ranting.
    Wake up folks. Vote Dem in 2020.

    • I assume you live in Louisiana, a state that has with few exceptions been governed by dems for decades. They have ruined your economy, your public education, and your infrastructure. But your politicians and lawyers have prospered. Can you not make the connection?

  2. If your a politician your not honest at least OUR president doesn’t say one thing and do another so far the best choice for the country as for the virus goes no one knows what the outcome is going to be if you have common sense use it🤷‍♂️

  3. Talk about living in slavery, do you understand what part of that even means? One part is not being able to vote. If Dems didnt show up in one state recently to vote, they would be removed from the voter roll. You speak of dictatorship under Dems? Ha, really?! That’s a remarkable statement considering what has taken over our White House. You speak of Dems not letting you speak certain words or stepping on your moral beliefs. Not sure what words you are even talking about. Sir, your moral beliefs have been stepped on, and buried 6 feet under by the individual that has invaded our White House. HIMSELF has done nothing that is American, Christian, moral or humane since overtaking our American government. It seems you speak out of some sort of misguided anger. I only hope you can compose yourself, do research using the Google machine. Search reputable websites. Yes, they are reputable. By the way, that is one of the first things a dictator does..turns people against the news and reputable, knowledgeable people they have always trusted. The ones that have kept us informed for decades. The ones that told us at some point in Jan that this pandemic was coming. We believed it. We prepared. My hubby has COPD. I wear a full face respirator mask if I must go out. Every couple of weeks I shop. I am doing my duty, staying home. I’m protecting myself and in doing so, I protect my hubby (1st and foremost) and I also protect you. I am proud to do so. It is my duty to do so. Stay well.

    • By the way, that is one of the first things a dictator does..turns people against the news and reputable, knowledgeable people they have always trusted.


    • Same old brainwashed stuff we hear from the TRUMP HATING socialist Democrats. We finally have a president that cares about our country and not everyone elses country first like the previous attempted dictator president. I search with bias Google to but you have to search way down before you get any legit sources to research. And if yiu researhed like you said youd know the virus deaths are not correct and blown up. Nobody stops any Democrat from voting unless its the democratic party doing it. There is so much wrong with what you said but ill just say ho do your voting because i can promise any person not brainwashed by the Democrat fake news will not bmvote for that socialist UNAMERICAN party.

  4. Seems most of these people, with the exception of about two, hide behind anonymity, and have no concept of what the Constitution cost in the founders lives, their families, and their fortunes. And if such as the one pushing voting for Democrats get her wish, there will be a war to keep our country free of the dictatorship that would be imposed by the Democrat Party. Many of us would rather die fighting as free men against such people than to submit to their slavery. The party she supports is already endeavoring to tell us the words we can and cannot use, even the thoughts we can and cannot have, and that we cannot have Biblical morals because they go against the perversions they support.

  5. And when our President PROVES he is insane by suggesting injecting disinfectant in our bodies to kill the virus, we must demand that the 25th Amendment be employed. Stop ignoring our Constitution!!!!

  6. I read a few of these and I guess you folks do not understand that you can be spreading a potentially deadly virus and not know it. Just because you don’t end up in an ICU drowning in your own fluids doesn’t mean your actions won’t lead to someone else ending up in an ICU drowning in their fluids. This virus is exceptionally contagious and is killing people of all ages. To repeat: You can be spreading a potentially deadly virus and not know it.

  7. I would rather lose all of the above mentioned “freedoms” by social distancing and staying at home, than losing my “freedom of life”. The only way to stop this virus is to stay home. PERIOD!

  8. I want to reiterate what Vicki said and add to it. Our rights are very much threatened by voter suppression and by the current leader’s attempt to run roughshod over Congress and the Supreme Court. He has no knowledge of what the Constitution says about the balance of power and the limitations of the presidency. As for the right to protest, again, I am with Vicki. Protesting wearing face masks, staying safe distances away from each other, is certainly acceptable (although I, for one, am not leaving my house just now). But showing up to protests with no facemasks, carrying weapons (what for? to shoot a virus?), blocking ambulances from getting to hospitals, screaming at nurses and doctors, is NOT acceptable. Being asked to shelter at home is for the safety of all of us. So many people who attend those rallies are going to be infected, and, ironically, they will be treated by the very medical personnel they are now villifying. But they will be taxing the already overworked medical system in the country. Doctors and nurses are stretched to the breaking points, foregoing sleep and food to care for the sick and dying. Demanding people stay at home and stay safe is akin to not letting people smoke in public or drive intoxicated. It’s for the safety of all of us. And as Vicki said, Vote in November while we still can. And vote blue, to save all of us.

  9. Is that Royal Alexander’s picture at the top of his opinion piece? It looks a lot like Congressman Mike Johnson.

  10. And you all will sing a different tune if someone close to dies from covid-19 that you took home to them. Then we will hear they should have done this and they should have done that.

  11. There’s always been tension between the rights of the individual and the rights of the many. After September 11th, some people complained about being searched at the airport. Some people just shrugged and took it in stride. What did we prefer: the hassle and time spent from security searching our baggage (maybe making us miss our flight), or skipping all of that and allowing someone on our plane who might be carrying explosives?

    It seems unfair when we’re told we can’t do stuff we used to do without even thinking about it. We think, “I’m not sick, and no one I know is.” It’s easy to disregard the danger when you’ve been spared from getting sick. But maybe you’ve been spared because of the precautions the people you come into contact with have taken.

    I’m not worried about the government taking away my rights. There are enough of you out there who will fight against it. This crisis can’t last forever. As soon as the number of cases reaches a level that medical resources can handle and doesn’t increase, life will return to normal. Maybe it won’t be the normal we had before. Maybe we’ll have to struggle for fair, equitable government, But then haven’t we always been doing that?

  12. I am so very sorry that this pandemic has been so inconvenient for so many. To think that your rights are more important than the health and lives of others? Go ahead and justify your attitudes and encourage others to demonstrate. This is a prime example of the personal philosophy that states:: “Horray for me!!! and the hell with you!”

  13. When quarantine becomes necessary to protect the health of an entire country, no constitutional rights are being violated. The first respondent blames the Democrats, the third blames the Republicans. So, it goes on and on. When will we ever learn.

  14. Thank you for taking the time to produce this refreshing piece. We, the People…are at a breaking point with our government. Our christian and innate values will help us take care of those who are in need. What should not happen is to let chaos reign and be perpetrated from the top down whether in Washington, or state houses across the country. Many posit that fear among the populace is being manipulated for increased power, surveillance, and wealth. For centuries and generations, many of our Natchitoches and Louisiana family members died, lost limbs, and their sanity (those old aunts and uncles locked in the attic) fighting for those freedoms many are forfeiting. Perhaps soon the pendulum will begin to swing toward a more moderate approach to protecting the populace. Freedom first and always!

  15. You are so correct. Our rights are being taken away. Voting rights are being destroyed little by little. The right to peacefully protest is in question now. Really? To peacefully protest? No guns, just peaceful marching, signs, displays, all done with face masks. (How responsible.) I drive with a copy of the constitution taped to my windshield. Every time I happen to get out, it reminds me and others what our country fought for, what we stand for, what we are having to (sadly in recent years) continue to fight for. In a time when we are led by individuals that want nothing more than to do away with all America is and stands for, it is more important than ever to stand up. Speak out about the terrible choices, the lies, the suppressive behaviors of this badministration. I could continue about the many injustices in our country now. But I will finish this reply with Vote in Nov, while we still can. Do not be deterred. Vote DEM in 2020.

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