PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Baker County judge was wrong in his May 18 ruling that Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 stay-home orders violated a time limit, and had therefore expired.
Baker County Judge Matthew Shirtcliff's injunction had declared Brown's order "null and void." But the high court's decision Friday means the stay-home order remains in effect in Oregon.
A group of churches, led by one in Baker County, along with assorted groups and political activist Kevin Mannix, had sued the governor. They claimed she violated the Oregon Constitution by not allowing the Legislature into the process of creating safety restrictions for the coronavirus. The plaintiffs also said the restriction violated their right to free assembly and freedom of religion.
In a seven-page opinion, Shirtcliff wrote that the damage to Oregonians and their livelihood caused by the stay-home order was greater than the dangers presented by the coronavirus.
Brown then filed paperwork within hours of the opinion, seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court and a hold on the ruling.
"From the beginning of this crisis, I have worked within my authority, using science and data as my guide, heeding the advice of medical experts. This strategy has saved lives and protected Oregonians from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Brown when she filed the review.
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