Judge backs Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine but legal challenges will continue

Judge backs Hawaii's 14-day quarantine but legal challenges to continue

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even though a federal judge has ruled that Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine is reasonable, the legal battle is far from over.

“We are very pleased with the ruling ... She (U.S. District Judge Jill Otake) carefully considered all the evidence that we as a state what the governor has been doing for the last few months to address the Covid 19 pandemic,” said state Attorney General Clare Connors.

But Jim Hochberg, the attorney for the four travelers seeking to overturn the quarantine, said his clients will consider appealing. He said the quarantine is essentially a ban on interstate travel and therefore unconstitutional.

“If they could drive from California to Nevada, all the way to New York and they cannot come here unless they quarantine, that is a ban on travel,” he said.

Hochberg also argued that the governor’s emergency proclamations are invalid because there is no real emergency.

“Hawaii has the lowest incidence of the virus, the absolute lowest of death from the virus,” he said.

But the attorney general said the low infection statistics prove the restrictions were valid.

“They’re looking at it completely backward,” she said.

“The facts they are citing, we submit, was because the measures we imposed in March worked.”

In rejecting the temporary restraining order, Otake said that the quarantine is not a ban on interstate travel.

“Plaintiffs characterize the 14-day travel quarantine as a travel ban when it is not,” she wrote.

“In fact, the 14-day travel quarantine violates neither of the two components of the right to travel ... as individuals from other states may freely travel to Hawaii; they must simply comply with the quarantine, a requirement equally applicable to Hawaii residents.”

Even though the TRO was rejected, the case will proceed in U.S. District Court where both sides will continue to argue over the merits of the lawsuit.

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