New York City is the center of the Wuhan epidemic in the United States, and in response to the virus, governors across the country have imposed shutdowns that might possibly be appropriate in New York, but are bonkers as applied to local conditions. Initially, most of us tried to be good sports. But as shutdowns lingered from weeks into months, and small businesses were destroyed by the hundreds of thousands for no apparent reason, the spirit of rebellion began to grow.
No doubt there were a number of places where rebellion flared today, but the one I know about is Albany, Minnesota, population 2,734, where a bar and restaurant owner stood up for his constitutional rights against the arbitrary power of the state’s government.
Kris Schiffler owns six Shady’s restaurants across central Minnesota. Last week, he announced his intention to open his Albany Shady’s in defiance of mad governor Tim Walz’s harsh shutdown order. Schiffler’s public statement was met with threats by Minnesota’s state government–to prosecute him, to fine him $25,000 (for which there is no apparent legal basis), and, most devastating of all, to yank the liquor licenses from all six Shady’s bars. Governor Walz’s point man in executing these threats is Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has cheered on left-wing violence in the streets, but whose law and order instincts evidently are aroused by a bar/restaurant owner undertaking to serve his patrons.
Normal Minnesotans have had enough of their governor’s high-handed and ignorant devastation of their lives. Under threat by the state, Schiffler set up a GoFundMe page to defray the costs of standing up to illegitimate authority. He set a goal of $100,000, and within 48 hours had raised $211,000.
The conflict came to a head today at high noon in Albany. A crowd of hundreds of normal Minnesotans assembled outside Shady’s, showing their support for Schiffler and their desire to end the state’s irrational and destructive shutdown.
The mood was festive. But then, at exactly 12:00, as the crowd was beginning to move into Shady’s, law enforcement appeared and served a court order on Schiffler barring him from opening. Just a few minutes later, he gave this impassioned speech. “It has never been about money, it’s about our freedom!”:
Attorney General Keith Ellison apparently obtained the order against Shady’s ex parte, on a motion for a temporary restraining order. That is, without giving Schiffler an opportunity to appear before the court and be heard in his own defense.
In my opinion, this was improper and illegal. Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, a TRO is appropriate under emergency circumstances where it is not possible to give the opposing party timely notice. That obviously was not the case here. News stories about Schiffler’s plans and the state’s jackbooted response go back to last week. Keith Ellison obviously could have given Schiffler and his lawyer notice of their TRO hearing, which would have converted the process into a motion for a preliminary injunction, but they chose not to do so. They didn’t want any opposition and didn’t want to have to justify their absurd position before the court. But that isn’t the standard under the Rules, and I think the order served on Schiffler today was invalid because of Ellison’s overreaching.
I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Kris Schiffler will soon obtain capable legal counsel, and will be heard from in a legal forum before long.
The real news here is that normal Americans are beginning to rebel against the pointless, destructive and probably unconstitutional dictates of their liberal masters. Not surprisingly, that revolt is occurring mostly in the country’s more rural precincts. Let’s hope the rebellion succeeds!