SALEM, OR — An Oregon judge today invalidated statewide novel coronavirus restrictions mandated by Governor Kate Brown, saying she didn’t receive approval from the state Legislature to extend those orders, which expired after 28 days.
Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion as his official response to a lawsuit filed by 10 Oregon churches that argued the government’s directives were unconstitutional.
Brown is seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court. Her attorneys asked the judge to stay his ruling pending the high court’s review, but he declined.
“It is irresponsible to dismiss the health risks and science behind our measures to stop COVID-19,” said Brown. “We would be faced with the prospect of another mass outbreak without the tools that have proven to be effective in protecting our families, neighbors & loved ones from this disease.”
Legislators in Washington have been saying something very similar: That Governor Jay Inslee’s “stay home, stay safe” orders only had a 30-day limit, and have to be renewed by the Legislature. Inslee’s office counters that argument by saying he’s within his authority given the governor’s emergency powers inherent in the Washington Constitution.