A challenge to one of New Hampshire’s emergency COVID-19 measures was dismissed by a judge Friday, according to the lawyer who brought the case.
Dan Hynes who had sought an injunction against a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, said a superior court judge denied the motion.
Governor Chris Sununu had instituted the ban Monday after declaring a state of emergency March 13.
“We are disappointed that the Judge denied our motion for an injunction,” Hynes said in an e-mailed statement Saturday. “However, we appreciate the Judge’s comments that we acted in good faith and that if conditions change, the legal analysis could lead to a different result in the future.”
The suit, filed in Merrimack Superior Court on Tuesday, suggested that “there is no emergency that allows such an order," but the judge found that the governor had properly declared an emergency, according to Hynes, who said a written decision was expected next week.
In Massachusetts gatherings are restricted to 25 people.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire activists wary of Sununu’s expanded powers have largely stayed mum. The head of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party, Brian Shields, said the party had a “fine line to walk."
While concerned about the governor’s expanded authority, he said, his party “didn’t want to criticize someone in the midst of trying to save people.”
A group of libertarians in Keene, not closely affiliated with the party, planned to defy the ban on large gatherings at their weekly meeting Sunday, but were not confident they would exceed 50, according to an organizer.
Activist and mononymic candidate for governor Nobody said in a phone interview Saturday that a protest was being planned to challenge the ban in Concord, the state capital, on April 1. But with concerns about the virus widespread, it was not clear how many people would attend.
“I think there’s a lot of people who don’t approve on principle on what the government is doing but are worried enough by what’s going on [with the virus] not to go out to a meeting," he said.
“They’ll definitely stay home and be unhappy about it and burn up social media,” he added.
Lucas Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.