OREGON: State supreme court keeps governor’s orders intact for now
Late on May 18, 2020, the Oregon Supreme Court issued an order that upholds Governor Kate Brown’s executive orders related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) until the court hears a legal challenge to their validity. Earlier that day, a state circuit court judge in Baker County temporarily invalidated the governor’s statewide orders. Oregon was in its first week of phased reopening under Executive Order 20-25, which was issued on May 14, 2020, and replaced the governor’s original “Stay Home, Save Lives” order (Executive Order 20-12, issued on March 23, 2020). The governor’s office appealed the decision directly to the Oregon Supreme Court, which almost immediately issued a stay (hold) of the Baker County judge’s ruling, effectively nullifying it and continuing the status quo, at least temporarily. The state supreme court will consider permanently vacating the ruling of the Baker County judge, and has required the parties involved in the lawsuit to submit their arguments no later than Friday, May 22, 2020, but hasn’t said when it will make a decision. For now, the governor’s orders remain in full force and effect statewide, and the phased reopening continues. Vigilant will keep members apprised of the Oregon Supreme Court’s eventual decision.