Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton delivered a presentation to a Tea Party group in Virginia over the weekend, where he stated that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders banning non-essential state travel to North Carolina and Mississippi are violations of the laws of nature.
Barton was making his standard argument that natural law was incorporated into the Constitution and so things like abortion and homosexuality can never be legalized when he took issue with Gov. Cuomo’s orders, which were responses to the passage of anti-LGBTQ laws in North Carolina and Mississippi.
As Barton explained it, barring non-essential state travel to those two states is a violation of the natural right to expatriation.
“Expatriation … is the right to move freely among herds,” Barton said. “If I’m with an elk herd and I’m tired of this group, then I’ll go over to that group and I’ll change and I have the right to move among herds and that’s why Article II in the Constitution gives us the right to move freely between the states.”
Cuomo’s executive orders, Barton said, “violate the rights of expatriation” because “I’ve got the right to move freely among all the states.”
“We’ve got a governor who says, ‘I don’t like what they’re doing, so you can’t go to those states’,” Barton said. “No, you can’t do that. That’s the right of expatriation.”
Barton’s argument is obviously nonsense, since the executive orders do not prohibit anyone from traveling anywhere they like, but rather simply ban non-essential “publicly funded or publicly sponsored travel” to these two states. In fact, by Barton’s logic, any employer not allowing any employee to use company funds to travel anywhere they want for any reason would be a violation the natural right to expatriation.