The Delaware General Assembly has been Served
A lawsuit was filed Friday morning in Wilmington – in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, which is Federal Court, to bring an end to the Delaware General Assembly’s virtual meetings which have been going on since the last session, and return to in-person meetings at Legislative Hall in Dover. Attorney Julianne Murray of Seaford, filed the suit on behalf of several plaintiffs.
Today, Julianne Murray filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the leadership of the Delaware General Assembly to end virtual meetings and restore meeting in person immediately. Murray believes the General Assembly is in direct violation of Sections 5 and 11 of Article II of the Delaware Constitution. Murray filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mitchell Denham, Donna Austin, Kimberly Lake, Jennifer Rambo, and John Rigby II. The case was filed in federal court because it raises grave legal issues under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as Articles I and II of the Delaware Constitution.
Since Governor John Carney declared the state of emergency almost 400 days ago, the Delaware General Assembly has been meeting virtually via Zoom. Two bills were introduced in the Delaware State Senate that would severely limit Delawareans right to bear arms, a right protected by the United States Constitution and the Delaware Constitution. With no more than a couple days’ notice, over 800 people signed up to either speak or observe the hearing on this legislation. Rather than an open and fair process, the Senate limited participation to 30 to 40 participants over the course of two hours. Each speaker was given one minute via Zoom and was silenced at the end of one minute regardless of whether they had finished their sentence. The entire process from introduction of the bill to the final vote took less than one week.
In the lawsuit, Murray pointed out that over 21% of Delawareans do not have access to high speed internet and therefore cannot participate at all in this virtual legislative process. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures throughout the nation are meeting in person despite COVID–19 – yet Delaware’s General Assembly is not.
“Governor Carney and the General Assembly are using the State of Emergency to push through a far left legislative agenda while denying Delawareans the right to speak out and be heard in the General Assembly. They don’t want to deal with any in-person opposition. It is much easier to deal with opposition remotely” said Julianne Murray. “This is a clear violation of the U.S. and Delaware Constitutions. The public must be able to participate fully in the legislative process.”
“These virtual hearings allow the General Assembly to dodge constituents that oppose legislation. It is chilling that they can be keyboard warriors that shut down opposition with a click of the mouse” said Murray. “The public must be able to participate in government in person. The General Assembly must go back to meeting in person and hearing from all citizens and not a select few. Delawareans should be outraged and need to be outspoken about this travesty. If they don’t speak up and oppose these virtual sessions, they are going to wake up with no rights and freedoms at all.”