PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court has issued a stay on the Monday Circuit Court ruling that temporarily rendered Governor Brown's coronavirus restrictions "null and void."
On Monday morning, Baker County Circuit Court judge Matthew Shirtcliff approved a request from the plaintiffs in a suit against Brown for a preliminary injunction on the order, denying a request from state attorneys for a stay on the decision.
The lawsuit itself comes from at least 10 Oregon churches and multiple individuals who argue that Governor Brown's orders are not consistent with the state constitution or legal statutes. They are represented by attorney Ray Hacke of the Pacific Justice Institute.
Governor Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum indicated that they would swiftly be filing with the Oregon Supreme Court for intervention. By Monday night, that intervention came.
“Following swift action by the Oregon Supreme Court, my emergency orders to protect the health and safety of Oregonians will remain in effect statewide while the court hears arguments in this lawsuit," Governor Brown said in a statement.
The order granting a temporary stay was signed by presiding Supreme Court justice Thomas Balmer. In it, Balmer said that the court had considered both the defendants' emergency motion and objections from the plaintiffs, but had ultimately decided to grant the emergency motion for a stay.
Balmer also said that the Supreme Court would be considering the state's writ of mandamus petition, which had requested that the preliminary injunction be vacated. That writ of mandamus will be considered in the days ahead, with the plaintiffs directed to submit their responses no later than May 22.
Governor Brown's statement on the day's events continues:
“From the beginning of this crisis, I have worked within my authority, using science and data as my guide, heeding the advice of medical experts. This strategy has saved lives and protected Oregonians from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are no shortcuts for us to return to life as it was before this pandemic. Moving too quickly could return Oregon to the early days of this crisis, when we braced ourselves for hospitals to be overfilled and ventilators in short supply.
“The science remains clear: by physically distancing, wearing face coverings, staying home as much as possible and only gradually reopening our communities we can save lives and keep Oregonians safe.
“We all look forward to visiting our loved ones in nursing homes, sending our children to school, and going to the grocery store without fear of spreading this disease. But the simple fact remains, COVID-19 is here in Oregon, and lives are at stake.”