By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – Did Governor Charlie Baker overstep his authority when he declared a state of emergency during the pandemic and ordered non-essential businesses to close their doors? A group representing Massachusetts businesses and organizations argued before the state’s highest court Friday, saying the shutdown was an overreach.

“The governor’s taken control and he’s turned the government upside down. I mean at this point the legislature is left to approve or disapprove of the governor’s policy choices? That’s not how it’s supposed to work,” said Michael DeGrandis, an attorney for the New Civil Liberties Alliance.

The public interest group filed the lawsuit in June on behalf of ten local businesses and organizations, including the owner of Apex Entertainment in Marlborough. The state slapped a cease and desist order against Apex this summer for keeping its arcade games running.

In an about face, Governor Charlie Baker announced Thursday that arcades can reopen next week, and defended his reopening plan. “The executive orders and the ability to execute and follow through on those executive orders was an incredibly important part of the success the Commonwealth has had in beating back and fighting COVID,” he said.

During Friday’s Supreme Judicial Court hearing, justices questioned attorneys on both sides. “Don’t you have to admit that Governor Baker’s done a pretty darn good job here, especially when you compare him to the other states?” asked Justice Elspeth Cypher.

“The governor has unlawfully dispensed of the law and violated due process,” argued DeGrandis.

The owner of two North End restaurants is also included in the lawsuit, Terramia Ristorante and Antico Forno.

A fellow restaurateur on Salem Street said it’s been difficult for everyone. “We’re trying to keep our employees working. We’re trying to keep our businesses going. We’ve invested our lives into these businesses,” said Anthony Radzikowski who owns Ernesto’s Pizzeria. “As much as it was new for me, it’s new for the governor, and I wouldn’t want to be in that position.”

Christina Hager

Comments (4)
  1. Governor Baker is a hero!. Unlike Mr. Trump the leader of our country. Mr Baker took this head on and tried. Using the best and autoritative Medical advice. Mr Baker implemented wide reaching programs to do his job as Governor of the Commonwealth.Look at what is happening in larger states that did only follow suggested guidelines slightly?Look at California,who’s Governor bowed to the pressure. Governor Baker knew it would be tough on business. He knew that some religious groups would take serious exception.I would ask these business people involved in the suit.”How much business are you going to do,if all your customers are quarantined or in the hospital? To those religious people putting up the argument of faith. Do you need a church to pray? Could it be the collection plates being empty is more important than the health of your congregation?

    1. Frank DeLorey says:

      Yes great job!!! We have the highest unemployment in the country…YAY we’re number one…ignoramus.

  2. Charles Rigatta says:

    Charlie Baker is a fraud and has violated the MA and US Constitution. He has stopped people from having “joy”, all for a common-cold that has a cure: Chicken soup and rest. The perfect government induced, forced health insurance common-cold that says if you have no symptoms you have to be in a 14 day quarantine and have your life go ca-putz. One SJC Justice mentioned that we have rules such as always fastening a seat belt, but what [she] didn’t express is that you do not have to drive. A governor cannot have a rule that regulates air; but under him you are forced to wear a mask and breathe a certain way. We have regulations on water when there is a drought, but the governor cannot regulate how you drink or when you can drink water. Get over it, the SJC must rule against this dictator.

  3. Frank DeLorey says:

    Is anyone shocked that Baker destroyed businesses without any evidence that doing so was needed? Its not his first rodeo with playing dictator…remember when there was a vaping scare, without a shred of evidence he closed ALL the businesses selling vape products and they now have a lawsuit against him. Not a Republican by any means.

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