Baker County Judge Refuses to Vacate Decision Finding Governor’s Orders Invalid

A Baker County circuit court judge has refused to vacate his ruling finding Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s coronavirus executive orders to be legally invalid and, therefore, “null and void.”

The Oregon Supreme Court, which is reviewing the case and has temporarily stayed his ruling (keeping the governor’s orders in place for the time being) had given Judge Matt Shirtcliff until 5 p.m. Tuesday to either vacate the order or present a case explaining why he would not.

In a brief letter to the attorneys on both sides of the case Tuesday morning, Judge Shirtcliff did neither, simply stating that he has elected to stand by his original ruling.

Click to access Judge-Shirtcliff-Letter.pdf

The state now has until Thursday to file a brief with the Supreme Court in support of its motion to dismiss Shirtcliff’s decision, and the plaintiffs in the original case — which includes 10 churches and 21 others who sought the injunction — will have until next Tuesday to respond.

A similar case raising constitutional concerns on behalf of business owners was also filed in U.S. district court by two law firms, including one based in Canby. However, the judge in that case denied the attorneys’ request for an injunction, saying their federal claims were unlikely to succeed.

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