PHOENIX - Another group of business owners is fighting to reopen, as 26 bars across the state are filing a lawsuit against Governor Doug Ducey, claiming an executive order forcing them to close is unconstitutional.
The bars are located in, among other places, Chandler, Phoenix, Prescott, and Sedona, and the bars are demanding a reopening.
The conversation started around July 4, because that is a busy holiday for them and many are struggling to survive.
ASU law professor argues that bars can be as sanitary as restaurants
Illan Wurman, an associate professor at Arizona State University's law school, is representing the businesses. Wurman argues the executive order to shut down bars is unconstitutional, because legislative powers of the state are given to the Governor without guidance. He also adds it is not fair that other businesses have remained open.
"Restaurants can be open at 50% capacity and meeting sanitary measures, then bars can meet those measures too," said Wurman.
Wurman says he is confident in his filing with the Supreme Court, adding it's a violation of the Immunities Clause, arguing that bars can and will be as sanitary as restaurants with bars inside.
"To say that bars -- not a single bar -- can meet the same sanitary standard and safety requirements as other restaurants that have bars in them is crazy," said Wurman. "If the governor wants to make that argument in court, be my guest. Qe will mop the floor with that argument."
Constitutional lawyer weighs in on lawsuit
Dan Barr, who works as a constitutional lawyer, says lawsuits similar to this one have been happening across the country during the pandemic, and says the plaintiffs will all lose for a reason.
"Governors, state and local officials have tremendous amount of power and discretion in public health, and courts are reluctant to second-guess governors and local health officials," said Barr.
Governor's Office responds
In a statement, officials with the office of Governor Doug Ducey said:
"We’re making reasonable and responsible decisions in the best interest of public health. We’re following the law and the constitution."
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