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Oregon stay at home ruled illegal.

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    Posted: May 18 2020 at 4:57pm

A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Governor Kate Brown, arguing she didn't seek the Legislature's approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches across Oregon that argued the state's social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.

Brown filed paperwork within hours seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court and a hold on the ruling until the high court could take it up. Her attorneys had asked the judge to stay his ruling until that time, but he declined.

In a statement, Brown said: "The science behind these executive orders hasn't changed one bit. Ongoing physical distancing, staying home as much as possible, and wearing face coverings will save lives across Oregon."

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.

"The governor's orders are not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols at larger gatherings involving spiritual worship," he wrote.

Courts in other states have ruled against similar orders. The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers' stay-at-home order last week, ruling that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended the order for another month without consulting legislators.

A federal judge in North Carolina on Saturday sided with conservative Christian leaders and blocked the enforcement of restrictions that Governor Roy Cooper ordered affecting indoor religious services during the pandemic.

The order from Judge James C. Dever III came days after two churches, a minister and a Christian revival group filed a federal lawsuit seeking to immediately block enforcement of rules covering religious services within the Democratic governor's executive orders.

In Louisiana, however, a federal judge refused a minister's request to temporarily halt Governor John Bel Edwards' stay-at-home order, which expired that same day.

The ruling in Oregon turns on the legal mechanism Brown used to issue her orders. The plaintiffs alleged — and the judge agreed — that they were issued under a statute pertaining to public health emergencies, not an older provision that addresses natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes or floods.

The public health statute contains the 28-day time limit, while the other would give Brown broader powers but is not relevant in the current situation, said Kevin Mannix, who is representing business owners in the case.

California, Washington state and New York — other states where governors have repeatedly extended coronavirus restrictions — give their governors more power in public health emergencies, but Oregon law puts a specific clock on those "extraordinary powers," he said.

"Maybe other states will take a lesson from us in the future about what to do about public health emergencies," Mannix said. "We've thought about it, we've balanced the powers of the governor with the powers of the people and their representatives."

Governments derive their power from the consent of their citizens via duly elected representation who legislate on their behalf and pass laws for the benefit of citizens. Clearly Oregon's governor was outside of those laws.


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oregon-judge-tosses-out-statewide-coronavirus-restrictions/

 
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