Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced on June 5 that social distancing requirements would not be enforced against Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters at coming events because they are exercising “their constitutional rights.” The Governor’s stunning epiphany means that he has finally come to comprehend that in Vermont, the United States Constitution actually does apply! This is great news for Vermonters -- in almost all past decisions, the Governor has demonstrated a total oblivion, if not hostility, toward citizens’ rights.
This is the Governor who decided in 2018 to abandon Constitutional protections of the right to self defense when he signed a sweeping gun bill that banned high capacity magazines and imposed universal background checks on gun sales. A current gun bill (H 610) is even more blatantly unconstitutional, but the Governor has been silent.
This is the Governor who used COVID-19 to close farmers’ markets and numerous businesses in a rather haphazard fashion, with unclear guidance, and even less clear constitutional authority. He delegated responsibility to municipalities to require people to wear masks, while insisting the President of the United States holds zero authority to tell Vermonters to reopen their communities. Governor Scott has been consistently partisan when invoking/ignoring constitutional rights: consistently progressive.
Phil Scott objected very publicly when Donald Trump said there were “very fine people” on both sides in the riots at Charlottesville, and the Governor passionately called for the Minneapolis police officers who killed George Floyd to be charged with murder. But he did not condemn the two instances of speech-blocking protests against conservative speakers at Vermont’s prestigious Middlebury College. Now the Governor has announced that left-wing radicals who are blatantly violating his COVID-19 restrictions are free to disrupt Vermont streets. (He has not spoken against climate protesters who have disrupted traffic and events either).
Phil Scott displays similar favoritism toward progressive ideology in other applications (or denials) of constitutional safeguards:
Perhaps Sean Manovill, the Rutland gym owner who struggled to maintain his business in the face of the Governor’s orders, was simply protesting -- surely his constitutional right to oppose the Governor’s elimination of his livelihood merits as much recognition as political protests over an out-of-state incident with police.
It appears basic constitutional freedoms are being deliberately discarded by the Left, and that Vermont’s Governor is a willing ally in this dismantling. Vague demands for “universal rights” that require government domination and wealth transfers have replaced the constitutional heritage of our forebears. Scott has cast off even the pretense of conservatism, revealing himself to be an active agent of a progressive agenda.
Vermont’s Governor has silently acquiesced as the Green Mountain State has become the playground of those bent on destroying American foundations of constitutional protections. Meanwhile, BLM protesters descend on the Vermont State House on June 7 with the Governor’s blessing, in a public demonstration on public land where the U.S. Constitution applies -- but where only black voices will be allowed to speak: the event’s organizers state that there is an “open mic for black voices.”
Yes, BLM has banned white people from speaking on the lawn of the Vermont State House. Perhaps Governor Scott will publicly share his opinion on the constitutionality of this development, since white citizens are prohibited from protesting by a mob of people who have been exempted from compliance with social-distancing requirements… by the Governor.