State Rep. Mark Baisley, a Republican, said in a letter that the celebration of Thanksgiving serves as “a national day of remembrance for the remarkable story that gave rise to liberty on this continent.”
Baisley, 65, said people will have the COVID-19 pandemic on their minds as they gather with others on the holiday.
“It is important for Americans to realize, in spite of their good intentions, neither a Governor, a President-elect, nor I as your State Representative have the constitutional authority to restrict the number of family members who gather in your home,” Baisley wrote.
“You have a constitutionally guaranteed right of assembly and association, specifically protected in the First Amendment.”
Baisley added later: “America has been through many other tough times and medical epidemics (smallpox, yellow fever, Spanish flu, cholera, and so forth), and the Constitution is not suspended because of a pandemic.”
Baisley pointed to the Supreme Court affirming in 1866 that the Constitution “covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.”
Thanksgiving is on Nov. 26.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, announced this week that 15 counties would, starting Friday, face harsh measures including a ban on all personal gatherings, a limit on gatherings at places of worship, and the closure of indoor dining.
Six other counties were moved to “level orange,” which includes restrictions like limiting personal gatherings to 10 people from no more than 2 households.
Polis said during a press conference a rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted the shifts.
“We now continue to see our state on this exponential growth curve that we must stop to save lives and avoid overflowing our hospitals,” he said.
State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a Republican, said on Twitter that he’s heard Polis will be calling a special session.
“Polis says you can’t have thanksgiving but he can call 100 legislators from 100 different families together,” he wrote.