BAKER COUNTY, Ore. – The judge who ruled that Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders weren’t lawful is standing by his decision.
The ruling in Elkhorn Baptist Church, et al v. Katherine Brown Governor of the State of Oregon was made May 18.
Judge Matthew Shirtcliff said at the time that because Brown did not seek approval from the Legislature to extend her orders beyond a month, they were not constitutional.
Brown appealed the ruling to the Oregon Supreme Court, which put a stay on the ruling until they could hear arguments in the case.
The high court later issued an alternative writ of mandamus, ordering that Shirtcliff had to either retract his ruling or defend it. Attorney Ray Hacke, who represents the plaintiffs in suing Governor Brown, told NewsWatch 12 on Tuesday morning — before Judge Shirtcliff issued his reply — that the judge would have to "show cause" for his ruling if he decided not to vacate.
"My hunch — and my hope — is that Judge Shirtcliff will choose [to stand by the ruling]," Hacke said. "I don't presume to speak for him, of course. But I think he ruled the way he did for a reason: Religious Oregonians have been 'irreparably harmed' by Gov. Brown's actions long enough."
Because he chose the latter, according to the Supreme Court, Shirtcliff will need to give the state and churches involved in the lawsuit additional opportunities to make their arguments and explain why he is upholding his judgment.