The Oregon Supreme Court on Monday stayed Circuit Court Judge Matthew Shirtcliff’s order that granted a preliminary injunction against Governor Kate Brown’s stay-at-home orders.
Brown has issued multiple stay-at-home orders since March 8 due to COVID-19. Brown’s orders have closed schools, non-essential businesses, and dine-in services at restaurants and bars. In response, various Oregon churches filed a lawsuit earlier in May arguing Brown’s orders are unconstitutional.
Shirtcliff granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction on Monday. Shirtcliff found Brown’s authority to issue the executive orders fell under ORS 433.441, a state law governing public health emergencies. Therefore, Shirtcliff ruled Brown needed to seek the Legislature’s approval to extend stay-at-home orders beyond 28 days. Brown argued the executive orders were issued under ORS 401.165, which does not place time constraints on executive orders related to a state of emergency.
Following Shirtcliff’s decision, Brown filed an emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction. In addition, Brown filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to vacate the preliminary injunction, or alternatively a writ of mandamus directing the Circuit Court to vacate the preliminary injunction.
Overall, the Oregon Supreme Court stayed Shirtcliff’s decision pending all the justices review of Brown’s mandamus petitions. The plaintiffs have an opportunity to respond to Brown’s petition by May 22, 2020.
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