A Pennsylvania state representative is asking colleagues to co-sponsor legislation to impeach Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over his response to the Wuhan coronavirus. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican representative from Butler County, says the governor is violating fundamental rights and failing to protect Pennsylvanians amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In an official memorandum shared on Facebook, the state representative laid out his case for impeaching the governor.
"Gov. Wolf's orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak have violated a number of our God-given rights affirmed in the United States Constitution. In particular, his order mandating the closure of physical locations of all businesses that he has deemed 'non-life sustaining' has violated our citizens' rights in many devastating ways."
Metcalfe alleges the governor's order constitutes the taking of personal property without compensation and violates fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and the right to assembly. The state representative also accused the governor of lacking transparency and justification for granting certain businesses waivers to stay open while other businesses were forced to close down.
"The public, press and General Assembly all have a right to know about these decisions and how they have been made. While the Wolf administration has finally slowly begun to release some of the relevant information regarding which businesses, they have yet to release any information about how or why these decisions were made. His delays and obfuscation have been, and continue to be, entirely unacceptable."
The memorandum also faults the governor's for problems with the state's unemployment compensation system and failing to protect vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities.
"While these are certainly challenging times, Gov. Wolf must be held accountable for his actions that have harmed so many of our citizens and violated so many of our rights. No individual or office is above the law."
Responding to the proposed impeachment at a coronavirus briefing on Friday, Gov. Wolf said, "Well I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t wait to see the legal arguments ... in that case."
Constitutional questions regarding the state's response to the ongoing pandemic will likely be decided by the courts in the months and years to come.
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