by WorldTribune Staff, May 19, 2020
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus lockdown orders were ruled by a judge to be “null and void.”
Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff made the ruling Monday in a lawsuit brought by churches who said the Democrat governor’s social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.
The lawsuit also argued that emergency powers only last for a month and after that Brown would have needed legislative approval. Judge Shirtcliff, who was appointed to the position by Brown last September, agreed.
Ray Hacke, the attorney for the Pacific Justice Institute that represented the plaintiffs, said the ruling not only invalidates Brown’s ban on churches gathering for worship but also the entire stay-at-home order.
“The stay-at-home order is no longer in effect. It is invalidated. If people want to get their haircut, they can. They can leave their home for any reason whether it’s deemed essential in the eye of the state or not,” Hacke said.
Brown said she would immediately appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court to try to keep the 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,” Brown said.
Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the “safer at home” order of Democrat Gov. Tony Evers, saying that the Evers administration overstepped its authority by extending the lockdown order, which originally took effect in March, from its original end date of April 24 until May 26 without consulting legislators.
After being slapped down for overstepping his authority, Evers said he’s given up trying to enact any more coronavirus restrictions.
The state Supreme Court’s ruling essentially reopened Wisconsin, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they pleased and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants. Patrons immediately flocked to bars within hours of the decision.
In other coronavirus lockdown news:
New York: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday anyone who attempts to swim at the city’s public beaches Memorial Day weekend will be physically removed from the water.
The Democrat mayor said that New York City will begin installing fencing along the city’s beaches and asked residents to avoid large gatherings, and playing sports. Lifeguards will also be prohibited from being on duty.
“Anyone tries to get in the water, they’ll be taken right out of the water,” de Blasio said. “It’s a dangerous situation to ever go in the water if there are no lifeguards present.”
Pennsylvania: A tattoo parlor in a so-called “red phase” county stuck under Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf’s lockdown order has reopened in defiance of the order.
Sick Ink Studios, located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh County was booking “hundreds” of appointments as personal care facilities — such as gyms, salons, and tattoo parlors — were instructed to remain closed throughout the state.
“Hundreds of customers booked appointments that will keep the tattoo parlor busy for months; a few even did so in person, entering the shop one at a time,” the Morning Call reported.
“It appears to be about us, but it’s not about us. It’s about all the people that reached out to me to tell me they’re losing everything — everything hard they ever worked for,” owner Jesse Probus said in a May 15 video explaining his decision.
“You can do whatever you want to me. I understand all my consequences of my actions,” Probus said. “It’s just something I have to do. It’s just something I have to do to help myself. It’s something that I have to do to help other small business owners. Maybe they’ll stand up with me. Maybe they’ll come join me. I feel like my civil liberties are threatened with all this that’s going on.”
Michigan: A Michigan sheriff opposed to Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order told a crowd of more than 200 that the governor’s quarantine measures are akin to mass arrest of the state’s residents, American Military News reported on May 19.
“What’s the definition of an arrest? It’s basically taking away your free will, your right to move about,” Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf told the crowd in downtown Grand Rapids. “And an unlawful arrest is when you do it unlawfully, so when you are ordered to your home, are you under arrest? Yeah, by definition you are.”
Among the speakers in Grand Rapids on Monday was state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. The Republican lawmaker encouraged the crowd to continue to do “precisely what you’re doing today.”
“Be ready to test and challenge government when they get it backasswards and they think they’re the ones who have the rights to give us, when really the government is to provide and protect our rights,” Shirkey said.
The Michigan House and Senate are currently in a legal battle with Whitmer that challenges her extension of the state of emergency without the authority of the legislature. While Shirkey said he couldn’t talk about the lawsuit’s progress, he promised the crowd “we will prevail.”
New Jersey: A gym in Bellmawr reopened again Tuesday in defiance of Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy’s lockdown orders. On Monday, police arrived and left, telling Ian Smith, the co-owner of Atilis Gym, and his patrons to “have a good day.”
But Murphy warned later on Monday that if the gym were to open again “We will take action. If you show up at that gym tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing today.”
Following Murphy’s demands, police arrived to issue tickets to the owners on Tuesday. At least one patron was also arrested leaving the gym after refusing to give his name, NJ.com reported.
Police also warned supporters gathered outside to leave or they could also face summonses.
Atilis Gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti said he and Smith have owned the gym for less than a year and the lockdown has “strangled” their business. They said they would continue to operate despite the tickets. A GoFundMe campaign started to pay their fines has already raised more than $21,000.
“I’m not worried about jail,” Trumbetti said. “Ian and I made a conscious decision to actually fight for the cause for everybody.”