DOJ backs lawsuit challenging this state’s coronavirus quarantine for travelers

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DOJ backs lawsuit challenging this state’s coronavirus quarantine for travelers

The Justice Department (DOJ) filed a statement of interest on Tuesday supporting a lawsuit against Hawaii's mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone

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The Justice Department (DOJ) filed a statement of interest on Tuesday supporting a lawsuit against Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the state, likening it to “an infringement on the right to travel.”

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Nevada and California residents who own property in Hawaii are suing the state over the legality of the quarantine order.

“State governments cannot limit the right of out-of-state Americans to travel to their state unless doing so is substantially related to protecting the public safety,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

In this March 28 photo a police officer arrives to tell people to leave Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. A Facebook group with more than 2,000 people called the "Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers," is focused on finding people who violate Hawaii's 14-day quarantine on travelers arriving to the state. Kapu is a Hawaiian word that means laws or rules. The group is (AP Photo/Caleb Jones,File)

In this March 28 photo a police officer arrives to tell people to leave Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. A Facebook group with more than 2,000 people called the “Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers,” is focused on finding people who violate Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine on travelers arriving to the state. Kapu is a Hawaiian word that means laws or rules. The group is (AP Photo/Caleb Jones,File)

The DOJ’s stance is an effort to protect against state overreach when implementing coronavirus restrictions, and the department said Gov. David Ige’s mandate — which has been in effect since March 26 and expanded to inter-island travelers on April 1 — is discriminatory against non-residents of Hawaii.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii State Attorney General’s office defended Ige’s emergency proclamation, saying it and “the subsequent proclamations were properly and lawfully issued pursuant to the Governor’s statutory authority and his determination that an emergency exists due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the danger and threat it poses to Hawaii.”

Ige boasted the lowest hospitalization rates and lowest fatality rates in the country and said “the critics can raise whatever issues they want to,” according to the Hawaii News Now Sunrise.

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“I know as governor, I need to live with the criticisms,” he added. “I would ask the people to look at the results and judge for themselves.”

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