by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 13, 2023) – A case begun in the Chancery Court for Hamilton County, TN in October 2020 challenging the authority of Gov. Bill Lee and the local health department to restrict citizens’ movements due to the declared coronavirus emergency has been docketed at the U.S. Supreme Court for a February 24, 2023 conference.

Relator David Jonathan Tulis, a broadcaster at NoogaRadio 96.9 in Chattanooga and an avid writer on constitutional and free-marketas issues, claimed in his suit that then-Hamilton County Health Department Administrator Rebekah Barnes and Lee did not have the authority to impose lockdowns and other restrictive measures relative to the SARS-CoV-2 virus “pandemic” as a result of their failure to “determine the source or cause of the disease” as required by TCA (Tennessee Code Annotated) § 68-5-104.

Barnes retired in the fall of 2021 and was replaced by Sabrina Novak, who is now technically a party to the case. The office of Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti will defend Lee, while that of Hamilton County attorney Rheubin Taylor will provide the defense for Barnes/Novak.

Both Lee and Barnes have waived their respective rights to respond to Tulis’s petition, the court docket shows, with Janet M. Kleinfeller of the attorney general’s office and Sharon M. Milling, Counsel of Record for Hamilton County, signing the waivers late last month.

In a February 10, 2023 post, Tulis presented a summary of the case and its movement through the trial court to the appellate court and to the state supreme court, which in October declined to hear Tulis’s arguments. “The order rejects a petition for a hearing in the court overseen by five justices,” Tulis reported on October 22. “The order also denies a motion for reconsideration of two denials of motions for the judges to disqualify and recuse themselves for bias, prejudice and interest in the case.”

“All but one of the judges joined in the fraud brought by Gov. Lee on March 12, 2020, in his executive order for creating a state of emergency, followed 21 days later by his ‘safer at home’ executive order to ‘lock down’ the entire citizenry and put its men, women and children under house arrest without cause,” Tulis continued, hinting he was then considering a final option of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The statute Tulis cited as the basis for his action, last updated in 1989, outlines the procedures for “Quarantine” and “Penalty for Escape,” stating, in relevant part:

It is the duty of the local health authorities, on receipt of a report of a case, or suspected case, of disease declared to be communicable, contagious, or one which has been declared by the Commissioner of health to be subject to isolation or quarantine, to confirm or establish the diagnosis, to determine the source or cause of the disease and to take such steps as may be necessary to isolate or quarantine the case or premise upon which the case, cause or source may be found, as may be required by the rules and regulations of the state Department of Health…

Any person isolated or quarantined in accordance with any statute or rule or regulation promulgated and published in accordance with statutes relating to isolation or quarantine, who willfully escapes from such isolation or quarantine, commits a Class The misdemeanor…

T.C.A. § 68-5-104 (Lexis Advance through the 2022 Regular Session)

“Creating an extraordinary disaster,” Tulis wrote, “on or about March 12, 2020, Gov. Bill Lee declares a communicable disease health emergency with executive order No. 14, with local official Rebekah Barnes’ office issuing Directive No. 1 of the Hamilton County health department, effective July 10, 2020, and taking various actions for flulike symptoms, given the name ‘COVID-19’ disease. They act without benefit of due process or the fulfillment of law’s exactions; they have a public legal nondiscretionary duty under T.C.A. § 68-5-104 to ‘determine the source or cause of the disease’ by finding the infectious agent, contagion or communicable source for the disease, the existence of which is merely presumptive.”

On January 14, Tulis outlined his rationale for pursuing the beyond the state of Tennessee. “My petition going to U.S. supreme court in Washington seeks to review Tennessee’s courts and their rejection of law and the entire concept of equity,” he wrote. “The courts have violated many federal constitutional rights by refusing me due process and remedy, as I am guaranteed in both state and federal constitution. They beat me up in court as badly as they beat me up with their penal colony economic shutdown in 2020.”

“Our case,” he continued, referring to two men who provided assistance in preparing the necessary documents, “is unlike any other case that has been filed in the CV-19 fraud…Our analysis is down to the bedrock, and shows how the real law really operates, and how our protections are real. We have firm footing, but only 1 in 100 chance of getting heard by the Scotus justices.”

As this story went to press Monday, Tulis posted a summary and update revealing that the February 24 “conference” will take place by phone “among the three parties.”

A “reason to take [the] case,” Tulis contends, is that “Every federal court in every circuit has decided contrary to the cause seeking relief in this case. They have accepted without judicial scrutiny that, contrary to law, police power can operate on a merely presumptive cause, one not enjoying demonstration of a nonfraudulent exigency, the singular expedient relief to which is the equity jurisprudence deprived without lawful warrant by the supreme court of Tennessee, and all federal courts, under color of lawful authority, contrary to law.”

In a statement to The Post & Email Monday, Tulis wrote:

Tennessee has more than 18,000 lawyers, and not one of them brought a case with legs, or that brought a case with the right question. And that right question is: Can the government act on a presumptive agent of contagion? And can it act on the people en masse, as awhole, apart from due process, violating federally guaranteed rights in the process? The answer is in Tennessee: Yes. And in the other states, too. State laws drafted in the early 1900s set out how the health power is to operate, and it is never en masse, or on presumption. In Tennessee, the state has to make a “determination” of the agent of contagion, also called the “contagious principle” in the health code at Title 68. It did not make such a determination, which would very likely have required obtaining an isolate of the so-called SARS-CoV-2 or “Covid-19.” As far as I know, no one has isolated Covid-19. Gov. Lee and Mrs. Barnes admit violating the law. The first says he is not under “any duty” to obey the law. She says she is exercising discretion in avoiding her duty to the entire law on grounds that step No. 5 uses the phrase, “as may be necessary.” 

Our case gives the court a clear option if it wants to head off future “pandemic” emergencies upon which the hoped-or future biosecurity state is build, incident by incident, rule by rule, law by law, program by program. It can defend federal rights in the states and slap Tennessee state actors back under statute and the Tennessee constitution, one that Thomas Jefferson says is the one among the states with the fewest defects.

Thank you for your interest. I am under a press blackout of amazing density an persistence.

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