Testa warns Murphy: Governor doesn’t have “a license to suppress the liberties of the citizens”

VINELAND, N.J. – New Jersey’s newest Republican State Senator Mike Testa Jr. (R-1) issued a stern warning to Governor Phi Murphy on Friday.

The message: don’t push your emergency powers too far.

“The state’s efforts to protect the people from the coronavirus should not be taken as a license to suppress the liberties of the citizens,” said Testa of Vineland (Cumberland County). “There is a thin line between good public policy and heavy-handed government control. The priorities of public health and the preservation of civil rights must be secured in tandem.”

Testa was responding to this week’s ominous declaration by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal that local and state law enforcement are under orders to strictly enforce the Governor’s “stay at home” executive order. Police have already reportedly begun issuing criminal citations for social gatherings. Violators face hefty fines, a criminal record and months in fail.

Murphy assumed sweeping powers to combat the coronavirus. It’s unclear, for example, from where his authority to indefinitely close retail stores is derived. Firearms retailers and Second Amendment advocates have mobilized to sue the state for closing gun shops and ranges, a clear 2A infringement.

“This nation was built on freedom and liberty,” added Testa. “Enforcement of our laws and State orders must be managed on a case by case basis.”

To date, however, no New Jersey Republican legislator (or Democrat, of course) has taken any steps to curb the Governor’s power, i.e. calling for a legislative session to address his unconstitutional overreaches and check his curbs on civil liberties.