Judge dismisses challenge to New York's quarantine order

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A federal judge rejected an Arizona woman’s constitutional challenge to New York state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers from coronavirus hotspot states.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd pointed to a 115-year-old Supreme Court decision on mandatory smallpox vaccines, Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, as he dismissed a lawsuit by Cynthia Page.

Page claimed the quarantine order, issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June, violated her right to travel freely. In her lawsuit, she called the order “arbitrary, capricious, and irrational.”

In a 25-page ruling Tuesday, Hurd wrote the Supreme Court found in 1905 that states can take steps to protect the public in a health emergency.

NY quarantine Holland Tunnel
Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

“States around the country are grappling with an unfolding public health crisis,” Hurd wrote. “At best, Page has alleged state action that might be considered ‘incorrect or ill-advised.’”

Hurd said the order doesn’t violate travelers’ right to equal protection because it applies to both New York state residents and out-of-state residents alike.

“In other words, the State is not drawing a distinction between residents and non-residents but between individuals with and without a mathematically heightened risk of spreading COVID–19,” Hurd wrote.

The American Freedom Law Center is appealing the ruling.

There are currently 33 U.S. states and territories on New York's mandatory quarantine list.