Tarrant County, home of Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, has issued a highly unconstitutional “stay-at-home” order that suspends private property and allows the county to “commandeer of use any private property.”
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley issued the order during a press conference on Tuesday.
The decree will be in effect until April 7th unless the Fort Worth City Council extends it.
The executive order is similar to many others seen around the country as it calls for “non-essential” businesses to shut down and provides lists industries deemed “essential.”
However, the county’s law against public and private gatherings is more strict than many others, banning “any number of people outside of a single household” from getting together for anything other than a funeral or wedding.
“Any person who violates this Executive Order may be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or confinement for a period not exceeding 180 days,” the order threatens.
The most notable difference between Tarrant County’s order and other cities, counties and states is the elimination of private property.
Judge Whitley’s mandate states, “That the County is authorized to commandeer or use any private property, temporarily acquire, by lease or other means, sites required for temporary housing units or emergency shelters for evacuees, subject to compensation requirements.”
Even Americans with limited knowledge of the Constitution might squirm after reading that sentence.
The Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution protect citizens from government confiscation of private property.
The Fourth Amendment reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Additionally, the last sentence of the Fifth Amendment declares, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
If the COVID-19 crisis gets worse, how will governments use their acquired power?