From the 7/21/20 MA Lawyers Weekly daily update:
“The governor's orders are invalid because the COVID-19 pandemic is not a ‘civil defense emergency.' The Civil Defense Act is a 1950s-era statute designed to protect the commonwealth from foreign invasions, armed insurrections, and civil unrest associated with natural disasters. It has never before been invoked for a health emergency,” the plaintiffs said.
“On the other hand, the Legislature passed the Public Health Act explicitly to empower health authorities to control and prevent transmission of infectious diseases dangerous to public health,” the plaintiffs added. “Under the Public Health Act, principal responsibility for disease control lies with local boards of health, not with the governor.”
The plaintiffs are small businesses crippled by the governor's shut-down orders. The SJC will hear this in September.