Oregon church prevails in lawsuit against Gov. Kate Brown

BAKER CITY, Ore. – An eastern Oregon court has overruled Governor Kate Brown’s executive orders, for now.

In a lawsuit filed against Kate Brown by Elkhorn Baptist Church in Baker City, the plaintiffs argued Brown’s recent executive orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic were unconstitutional.

The lawsuit sought a temporary injunction barring the state from enforcing Executive Order 20-12.

On the morning of May 18, Baker County Circuit Court sided with the church.

Almost immediately after the ruling, Governor Brown said she’s filing an appeal to take the case to the Oregon Supreme Court in Salem. She released the following statement:

“From the beginning of this pandemic, I have taken action to protect the health and safety of all Oregonians. We acted quickly and decisively at the beginning of the outbreak, using the best science and data available, to protect Oregon from COVID-19.

“Today’s ruling from the Baker County Circuit Court will be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court within hours to keep my emergency orders in effect. 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.

“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.

“Together Oregonians have turned the tide on the spread of COVID-19, allowing us to only now begin the process of gradually and safely reopening parts of our communities and our economies. Reopening the state too quickly, and without ongoing physical distancing, will jeopardize public health and cost lives.

“It is irresponsible to dismiss the health risks and science behind our measures to stop COVID-19. We would be faced with the prospect of another mass outbreak without the tools that have proven to be effective in protecting our friends, families, neighbors, and loved ones from this disease.”

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