On Monday, a judge in Oregon threw out statewide virus pandemic restrictions imposed by Democratic Governor Kate Brown, saying she didn’t go to the state legislature for approval to extend the stay-at-home orders past a 28-day limit. That’s because tyrants feel they’re too important to be bogged down with things like laws, rules, and procedures.
Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches in Oregon that argued the state’s social-distancing directives are unconstitutional.
Brown filed paperwork within hours seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court to put a hold on the ruling until the high court would take it up. Her attorneys had requested the judge to stay his ruling until then, but thankfully 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.”
I bet if she was told she had to leave the governor’s mansion due to a lack of money to pay the bills, she’d change her tune with a quickness.
Scott Erickson, the chief pastor of one of the many churches behind the lawsuit, is waiting to see what the Supreme Court does prior to making any move to open his doors. At this time, his Peoples Church in Salem, Oregon, has a drive-in church, with worshippers tuning in services on their radios from the parking lot, via live streaming.
“We’re going to wait until there’s finality,” he stated in a telephone interview.
If the judge’s ruling stands, Erickson’s church, where 3,700 people usually attend, will change its ways, the pastor said. They would adhere to 6-foot distancing, meaning every other row would have to be empty and anything that people touch, like chairs and pews, will be wiped down before every service. Masks would be elective.
“It would certainly impact our capacity, but that’s where we’re at on this,” Erickson said.
Shirtcliff wrote in a 7-page opinion that the harm done to Oregonians and their livelihood was much greater than the dangers presented by the pandemic virus. He additionally noted that other businesses deemed essential, like grocery stores, had been allowed to stay open even with massive numbers of people present and have relied on masks, social distancing and different measures to protect the general 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.
The ruling in Oregon turns on the legal mechanism Brown used to challenge her orders. The plaintiffs allege — and the judge agreed — that they have been issued under a statute pertaining to public health emergencies, not an older provision that addresses natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, or floods.