Denver Orders US Postal Service to Close Distribution Center Because It Is Confused About How Much Authority It Has
Yesterday, we saw the comical spectacle of a member of Michigan’s Karenwaffe, Attorney General Dana Nessel, assert that she had the authority to prevent the President of the United States from visiting a factory producing equipment paid for by federal contract and then seem to arrogate to herself the ability to tell the President that he literally, physically could not come back to Michigan.
That a state attorney general would think they actually had this authority or the ability to enforce it is rather stunning.
Unfortunately, this who Wuhan virus catastrophe has given a lot of people who were apparently hostile to the idea of the US Constitution to begin with the leeway to exercise powers in the name of public health that they would never have had the nerve to try in other times. Pastors have been arrested. Congregations threatened with forced quarantine. Funerals, Jewish ones, no less, have been disrupted by men in uniforms and carrying guns in what seems like a rehearsal for a new version of 1934. And now we have another example of local authorities acting in the name of ‘public health’ taking steps that are almost certainly illegal.
The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has ordered the closure of a mail facility that handles all mail for Colorado and Wyoming.
The public health order was issued on Thursday to the United States Postal Service (USPS) Processing and Distributing Center at 7550 E. 53rd Place in Denver, following an investigation the day prior.
The state of Colorado has confirmed five employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility that employs 1,800.
DDPHE issued the closure order even though investigators were unable to see inside the distribution facility. The order states:
“Minimal observations were made during the site visit conducted 5/20/2020 at 12:30 p.m. due to the refusal of information and access to the facility. The area the investigators were able to make observations from was a small public-facing space in comparison to the entire distribution warehouse buildings. In the general public post station with three employees assisting customers with proper face coverings and plastic curtains separating each employee check-out station.”
“The challenge that we’re facing right now is we don’t have a great connection with local contacts for USPS, and so we’re not able to collect all the information that we need, and so in a situation like that we would temporarily close the facility until we are able to get all the information and implement controls that we need to,” said Karen Danica Lee, Director of Public Health Inspections with DDPHE.
Lee is also the Deputy Public Health Official for Denver’s COVID-19 response.
“In terms of how disease needs to be controlled in a facility, it doesn’t matter if it’s a federal facility or a local business, we need to get the same type of information and implement the same types of controls to keep employees and the public safe,” said Lee.
Actually, it matters a great deal if the facility is federal. If it is a federal facility, particularly one that controls mail distribution to two states, it is well beyond the power of the unelected Karenwaffe to close it. Closing it as a negotiating tool to compel compliance seems to be a direct analog to McCulloch vs. Maryland in which the Supreme Court held that a state cannot tax a federal entity. It is hard to see how giving a city government the authority to close a federal facility (think prison or military base) to enforce compliance with a local ordinance would pass muster.
And I can’t help but note that the CDC now says Chinese Lung AIDS cannot be transmitted via surface contact, so the demand by Denver that the facility be ‘sanitized’ is simply a bullsh** requirement based upon what makes the Karenwaffe feel safe and not on science.
So far, the USPS is holding firm and it is really hard to see how Denver is able to enforce such a profoundly bizarre order. I can hardly wait until the next steps…