Rule by Submission

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Writing on Facebook, Roland Lavallee raises a point that we’ve made around here repeatedly over the past several months:

I had called the governor’s office for clarification of whether this were new regulations or suggestions because it wasn’t clear. I was told they were suggestions.

So, I had a suggestion that she only take a 15 second spot on the news and change her pitch. I already have a mother.

The extraordinary powers by which she’s governing Rhode Island are floating in this gray area between law and regulation on the one hand and suggestion on the other.  When she declares that children should only trick-or-treat during the day on Halloween, is that an order or merely a suggestion that she’s presenting as if it’s an order?  If that’s just a suggestion, how about when she threatens college students not even to think about having parties, because “we will bust your party. We will fine everybody 500 bucks”?  Or how about when she decrees that all businesses must close their breakrooms?

If people push back on the legality of her dictatorship, she can step back and claim mere suggestion.  If businesses or colleges don’t do as she says, she can hint about shutting them down.  This is mafia-level extortion.  Sure, you don’t have to give the big guy at the door a payoff, but if you don’t, who knows what could happen?

Having been successful thus far, Governor Raimondo is getting worse.  Here’s a tweet from Brian Crandall at the governor’s last public-decree session:

@GovRaimondo is asking teachers to talk to kids about importance of not having Halloween parties and how to be creative, asking college leaders to crack down of parties.

Is she “asking,” or is she telling?  Either way, is it her role to bypass the Dept. of Education and each local school district in setting a health curriculum?  More importantly, do we accept it as okay that the governor is seeking to use schools to push her policy suggestions?… or is this one a law?

Yesterday, news emerged that nine Rhode Islanders have filed a lawsuit against the governor on the grounds that “our whole way of life is being trashed.”  It’s about time, and the grounds for suits is expanding by the day.



  • Rhett Hardwick

    Interesting decision from Massachusetts. The governor had placed a ban on evictions, by fiat. Essentially this made owners suppliers of free housing, there being no remedy for nonpayment of rent. A law suit was brought. The federal court offered an interesting decision. While allowing that an emergency denial of access to the courts might be allowable in the short term, extending it beyond October 17th, might reach to the outer edge. The governor has elected not to extend the ban. This results in a ban on evictions by the CDC taking effect until December 31. Still, the lawsuit seemed effectual.

  • ritaxednorep

    The lack of push back by anyone is demoralizing. Where are the Republican’s on this? Where is the press on this? Where are any patriots? Our First amendment right to peaceably assemble has been clearly violated, That’s in the US Constitution, the Rhode Island Constitution and the emergency powers legislation that she supposedly is acting under, clearly forbids any unconstitutional actions. It’s too bad that the lawsuit you mentioned looks lame and unprofessional. Demoralizing.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      I think what the governor is operating under is what are known as the “police powers”. These are not set out in the Constitution, although I believe they are referenced in the 13th (?) Amendment. These are the same powers that make Zoning legitimate, and not a “taking”.

  • Debra McCarthy Browne

    People of Rhode Island better wake up and smell the Raimondo coffee. They are giving away their Bill of Rights out of fear. As a Rhode Islander I find what Raimondo is doing and what Rhode Islanders are complying to appalling. She is killing the state and it’s citizens and We The People are letting her!