Murphy Tangles With Tucker on Constitutional Lockdown Questions: ‘I Wasn’t Thinking of the Bill of Rights When We Did This’

Governor Murphy went toe-to-toe with Tucker Carlson tonight on Fox News, pressed on his lockdown orders and whether he considered the constitutional questions surrounding park closures and large-gathering bans, including of religious services.

‘We believe completely that we don’t get an economic recovery unless we’ve got a complete or near complete health recovery,’ said Murphy.  ‘If we had let this go, we think 3 million New Jerseyans would have been infected.  The number is going to be a lot less than that.’

Reflecting on his press briefing earlier today where he said he couldn’t foresee gatherings resuming until there are no more cases, Murphy said ‘my comments today were directed at things like high school graduations, religious gatherings, that folks had asked me about in June,’ adding that ‘the next couple of week are going to be our toughest period’, noting he can’t predict with certainty into the summer.

Pressing him on the suspension of in-person religious services ‘until we’re basically at 0 new infections’, Carlson said its ‘not the standard we apply to any other infectious diseases’.  Why the difference with COVID-19?

Murphy disagreed, saying, ‘I wouldn’t say its a different standard’ and that ‘I don’t think anyone of us can expect we can get this directly to 0’ in the absence of a vaccine that may be a year or a year and a half away, adding that ‘we need a much broader testing regime, and that will give us confidence if we can quickly test folks.’

What does Murphy expect the death rate will turn out to be after broad based testing?

‘I don’t know,’ Murphy said, but, ‘based on everything we’ve seen, its higher than the flu’ and made the case for universal COVID-19 testing. ‘The fact that we’re staying at home, staying away from each other, is flattening the curve,’ said Murphy.  ‘The fact that it may be lower than we had expected means that its working.’

Carlson turned to the issue of  liquor stores deemed as essential services.  On what ‘scientific evidence’ was that decided?

‘We had to remind folks that liquor stores may be open, but gatherings are not allowed,’ said the Governor, noting some ‘backroom challenges’. ‘We relied on a whole lot of input from recovery coaches, addiction coaches, and they cautioned us that if we were to shutter those stores down, we would have unintended mental health and addiction prices to pay, unintended consequences, and so far that’s the route we’ve taken and my guess is that’s the route we’ll continue to take.’

But he’s closed religious services, and arrests have been made of those who have attempted to congregate, countered Carlson.  Isn’t practicing faith important to mental health?  ‘We’ve had good common ground with faith leaders,’ Murphy said. ‘We expect folks to distance themselves,’ adding that ‘there’s an enormous amount of faith going on virtually right now.’

Carlson asked Murphy at what point he decided that ‘buying liquor is more than important than church services?’

‘This is not either-or,’ said Murphy. ‘People are at peace where we have come out there.’  He said that ‘no one is happy’, and ‘who could blame them’, reiterating that ‘these aren’t one versus the other’ and that ‘you can have both of these realities at the same time.’

Carlson then brought up the governor’s closure of county and state parks.

‘We were coming into both warm weather and big religious seasons,’ said Murphy.  ‘Counties were beginning to close their parks,’ saying the concern was people would go to different park in a different county, or a state park.  ‘We surveyed the state up and down’ and a lot of people were congregating in parks. ‘Its not a life sentence.’

Carlson pressed him on the ‘science’ of closing parks.  ‘Arresting someone for sitting alone on the beach’ – how does that prevent COVID-19?

The governor said he didn’t know the specifics of that case, going back to his rationale for closing the county and state parks in terms of preventing congregation, citing crowds and out-of-state license plates at state parks.  ‘We felt that was the right decision to make.’

Carlson mentioned that 15 congregants were charged at a synagogue, bringing up freedom of religious expression, and pointedly asking ‘by what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights?’

‘That’s above my pay grade, Tucker, so I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this,’ he said, adding that ‘we looked at the data and the science’ and that ‘people need to stay away from each other.’

‘Since you are an elected official, how do you have the authority to order something that so clearly contravenes the Bill of Rights?’  Carlson pressed.  ‘Where do you get the authority to do that?’

‘Here’s the thing – we know we need to stay way from each other,’ said Murphy, adding that ‘we do have broad authority within the state’ and that ‘we would never do that without coordinating, discussing, and hashing it out with the leaders in the state.’

‘You clearly decided you could do it.  Did you consult an attorney?  It is a legal question in addition to medical question,’ Carlson responded.

‘I don’t go to the men’s room without consulting an attorney,’ cracked Murphy.  He said he called Archbishop Tobin to consult on the religious season, saying he was concerned about ‘drive-through Holy Communion’, pointing to stories of priests who had unwittingly passed on the virus to parishioners. Tobin said ‘we’re not going that, I promise you, and I’ll confirm that with my bishops,’ according to the Governor.  ‘That’s not denying someone their right to worship in any way, we have to find a different way to worship,’ said Murphy.

Carlson fired back that ‘government’s not allowed to tell people how to worship.’

How much does the suffering from the ‘good-faith’ lockdown measures outweigh the suffering from the virus itself?

‘It weighs heavily,’ said Murphy, saying the state continues to ‘make every call based on the facts, the data the science as best we can’ and ‘I look at what we’re doing versus the alternative.’

The alternative, where the virus run amok without lockdown measures, would be much worse, Murphy reasoned. Three million people or more would have been infected, and the health care system would have had no chance to keep up.

‘Each life lost is a precious life lost, let there be no doubt about it,’ said Murphy. ‘The alternative would have been multiples of this.  As it relates to economic suffering, if it had been millions, it would have been a lot worse, it would have been down the road, we chose to rip the band-aid off and deal with this upfront, and God willing, we’ve made the right set of decisions.’

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  • Kathleen Gorman

    The Constitution states “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Well Tucker, so far over 3,000 people have dies in NJ. They no longer have that “Life” so they can enjoy their “liberty” and can no longer engage in that ” pursuit of happiness”. SO, if Governor Murphy and most other Governors in the United States, whether Republican or Democrat, place restrictions on their constituents, that IS so those rights can once again be enjoyed in the future. But you have to have a future first.

    • bunnihunni

      Wrong and you still DO NOT get to circumvent the constitution due to an emergency PERIOD!

      • Kathleen Gorman

        “A white woman from the Third Reich” ? For your information I had an uncle that landed at Normandy on Day 6, went through France and on Dec 11, 1944 was almost mortally wounded in Germany stopping the Nazis from advancing needed supplies across a bridge for the Battle of The Bulge. He was awarded the Purple Heart AND the Bronze Star. My future mother-in-law and her family did time in a Nazi Concentration Camp in Poland. Did you ever see Nazi tatoo?
        Don’ t you dare question my allegiance to this country or The Constitution. I put country OVER party. I gave my opinion and I am still entitled to that.

        • bunnihunni

          So is this the game you want to play? I will dare question your country over party. You are not your uncle and I am black, jewish, and Irish. Many black soldiers including my late grandfather went over there and still couldn’t get the same respect in the US while he was fighting for someone else to get their freedoms. Your uncle will be ashamed of you for agreeing with what’s going on in America today. The Constitution is a foundation. If you crack the foundation then you’re no better than the Third Reich Nazi. If you believe what is going on right now it’s right, then you obviously didn’t learn the lessons of Stalin, Mussolini, Arafat, Hitler, etc. The Bill of Rights doesn’t take a vacation just because there’s a dangerous virus like the corona, flu, TB, or any other dangerous disease infection. You are so gullible. If I can get you to agree to one inch and I know for sure I’ll be able to take you 20 miles. Do you need to revisit a legitimate civics class learn history and the nature of man.

          • Kathleen Gorman

            First of all I don’t care what color you are. Nice try.
            Attributed to Abraham Lincoln is the phrase “the Constitution is NOT a suicide pact” when he suspended Habeus Corpus during the Civil War.
            You can’t see beyond the point Governors are trying to save lives and that’s sad.
            As far as MY uncle…you didn’t know him and how DARE you make any assumption on his pride in me.
            GULLIBLE? Sir, you don’t know me and have no idea who I am or about anything I have done in MY life to make such a stupid statement. You don’t anymore time with me. Goodbye and stay safe…

          • bunnihunni

            First of all, I’m a woman a biological woman. So the correct response is ma’am not sir. And I will continue to talk about your uncle because you still are not making any sense and only you would take a Abraham Lincoln quote out of context. You have so much faith in a governor and fail to realize that he suspended your own rights. You saying goodbye to me DOES not change the fact that you’re dumb as a block of wood and have a blockhead that refuses to receive information, critically think, and applied to real life situations. You are only looking at the short-term. Your uncle has no pride in you and he speaks from the grave. He wants me to tell you shut your dumb a** up and don’t lose our freedoms. And you are the one saying that the governor is trying to save your life with qualifies ME to call you stupid. I work on the front lines as a therapist–a behavior therapist at a hospital that has not furloughed me and that hospital at first refused to give us mask and gloves. So you can miss me with all this save your life crap. I am all for safety, but not at the expense of freedom and this Governor invented a power that he does not have even in your state constitution and you are okay with it because he is trying to allegedly keep you safe. But let me tell you something little girl, you need to wake up and then go to sleep and try again. If you are okay with your Governor given himself rights he never had, in the future, what he wants to get you in check, he’s going to use the flu as a national emergency and then I will spit back to you that foolishness you spit back to me. Yes you are gullible. And I hope they sue this governor into Oblivion

          • Kathleen Gorman

            You are a very angry woman. I stated my opinion and you have stated yours. Again….stay safe. This is goodbye.

          • bunnihunni

            I tend to be angry over willful stupidity. Anger is a NATURAL EMOTION in response to injustice; anger fits the facts!!!

        • ASK26

          I just copied photos my uncle took in Germany with piles of dead bodies from Nordhausen. So therefore I guess I can trump you because my family not only had relatives die in Poland, but my family also helped liberate and save millions. I go with bunnihunni on this. And you are not your uncle. 🙂

        • ASK26

          Well we will give it to you…you have no qualms about displaying your ignorance and ineptitude.

    • Charlie B

      As an attorney who graduated from a top law school, studied constitutional law from a foremost expert, who has practiced law for 34 years, who has argued numerous cases before my state’s Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on constitutional matters, I can honestly say that any politician of any party who admits that he or she didn’t think of the bill or rights before doing this or that is the most honest politician you will ever meet.

      • ASK26

        Honest but … VIOLATING it.

      • Numbertwopencil

        That’s an amusing but perhaps insightful comment. Murphy’s comments struck me as largely honest, if somewhat evasive. He clearly has a good idea what Carlson was up to and knew he wasn’t going to look good no matter what.

        Getting asked “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights?” in this context is a “When did you stop beating you wife?” question. There are real rights issues involved in the shutdowns but Carlson was not operating in good faith. There were no answers Murphy could have given that would have satisfied Carlson.

        Many governors were put in difficult situations, with very little guidance and no leadership, where they needed to make immediate decisions related to public safety. Mistakes were made, corrections were made, some issues are still unresolved. Some governors were under more or less pressure and some governors did better or worse. Murphy handled things better than, say, Kay Ivey in Alabama (a low bar). And, he seemed largely honest in that interview.

        I assume that Carlson and Co. are suddenly very concerned about rights issues in part to create a smoke screen for a president who creates constitutional crosses weekly. For example, does Trump have the authority to turn off Murphy’s lockdown? That’s what he’s threatening and yet I can see no constitutional authority that might allow him to do that.

        • organist1022

          Actually, yes he does have the authority. Quick search, executive order 13603 – signed by Barry in March of 2012.

          • BlackRonin

            Exactly where in that Executive order? What section and clause please? I included the link but in case I didnt you can search for it in the Obama White House Archives at the National Archives website. I’d really like for you to show us all where that is. And his name is PRESIDENT Barack Obama. Not Barry. Unless and until he tells you to call him Barry thats its Barack. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness

          • Numbertwopencil

            Here’s a reasonable summary. (I’ve never understood the “Barry” insult and sometimes it takes me a minute to remember that some people call Obama “Barry” for reasons beyond me.)
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13603

          • bunnihunni

            Do your own research! He can call Barry- Barry if he wants to.

          • Numbertwopencil

            Oh, that’s rich. That’s the Obama EO that was supposedly establishing martial law but instead was basically a minor update to various fairly well-codified emergency regulations that changed FEMA to DHS since that’s the new chain of command. It’s amusing to see it it show up _in defense_ of Trump.

    • todd90000

      Sadly, I live in your country of liberal dictatorship (i.e., USA 2020). But I was born in, grew up in, and carried a rifle for America. In America, we respected First Amendment rights. I bet you feel a whole lot differently about the governor’s authority to shut down newspapers and abortion clinics. “That’s different,” I’m sure you would condescendingly reply. And the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” line that you blithely cite comes from men who are now denounced by your ilk as “racists,” but who risked their “lives, liberty, and sacred honor” in challenging tyranny.

    • ASK26

      Kathleen – Answer his questions! How does a person sitting in a park alone threaten anyone’s life? What scientific proof is there to justify not permitting someone from sitting in a church vs shopping for booze?

      • Kathleen Gorman

        Did you know Municipal Parks are open and it’s up to municipalities to monitor and make sure masks are worn and social distancing is applied? The Governor’s are trying to save lives…including yours. Stay safe…

        • ASK26

          So do you think she has the right to prevent people from going from one of their properties to another of THEIR OWN PROPERTIES?

    • T P

      Are you fucking high on meth?

  • ASK26

    Anyone who actually watch had to realize that the Governor was evasive and sounded like a moron

  • TooMuch TooFast

    Funny that states want autonomy, but are quick to blame washington for all the negatives

  • Kathleen Gorman

    To those of you who did not “like” my comment…I find it interesting not one of you recognized MY First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech. Instead you resort to total insults instead of general conversation and honest debate. To all of you…stay safe.

    • Numbertwopencil

      Yo! Your comments seemed perfectly reasonable, to me. And, hey, I’m happy you are practicing free speech! You are doing a good job of it.

      It’s amusing to see people hollering things like ” . . . DO NOT get to circumvent or SUSPEND the constitution . . . ” when Murphy’s attempts to slow the spread of Covid-19 are fairly routine actions (though, given, in some rather unusual times). No one has “suspended” or “circumvented” the constitution! It’s true our president has created and continues to create a range of serious constitutional issues but, at least so far, the day-to-day management of slowing the spread of the Covid-19 has largely side-stepped serious constitutional issues, other than giving people like Carlson an set of easy targets. Various politicians have made mistakes along the way but, whew, given the complexities of the situation and the crazy (un)leadership from the top, it’s remarkable that things are going as smoothly as they are.

    • bunnihunni

      No. I don’t like you’re dumb gullible comment, but the difference between me and you is that will fight for your right to say it and will come strongly against any tyrannical person that tries to suspend it.

  • john lucas

    Tucker is a fox puppet mabe if I had to go threw the covid 19and he would have a different tune

    • ASK26

      I am not sure that “mabe” if you had to THROW “the covid19” ….. wow.

      • john lucas

        Tucker is a ass hole

        • ASK26

          Tucker is terrific. It is you that is the a hole

          • john lucas

            Are you one of the people riding around in your car or truck, afriad to do anything trying to show off your weapon , doing talking and yelling , if so why not just open your store and start sellong,,, for shopping just put a sign out open for buissness , whats the big deal , and for the people out of work juso and start working , wasting time driven around and money driven and walking all over.
            If it was me ,,i would open my store tell everybody come on in,,,,
            I would start working to,,, there are plenty jobs out there why aren’t they working

          • ASK26

            There are so many things wrong with that post that it is difficult to figure out which are nonsense ideas and which parts are just written in some odd attempt to seem like English

          • john lucas

            Look instead of showing off there weapons (and iam not being Smart cause if a dem gets in and they own’ the senate,house, and biden gets in ,showing off all Your artillery could be a bad move) now back to ,,Instead
            Of walking, driving in trucks cars shoutng, they were ssying they needed to open there buisness, i would day that half those people donot have buisness or they would of taking the SB.p.p.p. loan , and for the ones that wanted to go back to work , just go back to work ,looks to me that the people talking about they need to open back up, just open there buisness ,,open it and hire the people that want to work that want to work ,, and for the people that want to stay on Unployment,,welfare and that do not need to do either they can do the shopping,, as for showing off the artillery i hope they donot band my weapon,,,,(I was a republican but can’t take the bullshit so I changed,,,, and if they do somehow win it all,, the guns will be looked at and if they are gone donot blame anybody but yourself,,, and now,,,for every body friends or ementy please be safe (and your famileys) to live another day ,,,,

          • on2u2

            May I ask how old you are?

          • john lucas

            Old enought ,and for having a phone that can’t handle my broken hands I do the best I can,

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