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Judge Rules Oregon’s Stay-at-Home Order Unconstitutional, Declares State Open

Posted at 10:00 pm on May 18, 2020 by Jennifer Van Laar

FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, file photo, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to media representatives in Salem, Ore. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has issued an executive order blocking offshore drilling. The Democrat’s order Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, means Oregon joins several other states trying to shield themselves from the Trump administration’s plan to drill for oil and gas off the U.S. coast. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

A Circuit Court judge in Baker County, Oregon ruled Monday that Gov. Kate Brown’s “stay at home” order was unconstitutional because she didn’t get approval from the Legislature to extend it past an initial 28-day limit.

The lawsuit was filed by a number of churches and individuals in the county, who alleged both that Brown’s order violated their Oregon constitutional rights to worship and to assemble, and that the order in general was unconstitutional because Brown hadn’t sought the requisite legislative approval for an order lasting longer than 28 days. Brown’s order was issued March 23.

According to KGW8:

“In a seven-page opinion, Shirtcliff wrote that the damage to Oregonians and their livelihood was greater than the dangers presented by the coronavirus. He also noted that other businesses deemed essential, such as grocery stores, had been allowed to remain open even with large numbers of people present and have relied on masks, social distancing and other measures to protect the public.”

In a phone interview Ray Hacke, an attorney for Pacific Justice Institute who served as lead counsel for Plaintiffs, said:

“The stay-at-home order is no longer in effect. It is invalidated. If people want to get their haircut, they can. They can leave their home for any reason whether it’s deemed essential in the eye of the state or not.”

Brown said she will file an immediate appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court to “safeguard” Oregonians:

“This will ensure we can continue to safeguard the health of all Oregonians — including frontline health care workers, those living in nursing homes, workers in agriculture and food processing plants, and Oregonians with underlying health conditions –– while the legal process moves forward.”

At least one of the churches involved in the suit, People Church in Salem, Oregon, will continue to abide by the stay-at-home order until a final resolution is reached, its head pastor said.



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