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Oregon Supreme Court Orders Ruling Against COVID-19 Measures To Be Thrown Out

The Oregon Supreme Court in Salem, Ore., on Sept. 26, 2019.
The Oregon Supreme Court in Salem, Ore., on Sept. 26, 2019.

The Oregon Supreme Court Saturday ordered the Baker County Circuit Court to throw out a ruling that had initially declared Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus-related executive orders null and void.

Earlier this week, a group of churches challenged Brown’s executive orders that mandated social distancing and required businesses to close. The Baker County Circuit Court sided with the churches, stating that Brown had exceeded her authority in the length of the pandemic-related orders.

Judge Matthew Shirtcliff ruled that Brown’s public health provisions could not extend beyond 28 days, due to a specific section of state law. The governor’s initial emergency declaration lasted for 60 days, and she extended it for an additional 60 days earlier this month.

Hours after the Baker County court’s decision, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a stay, blocking the invalidation of Brown’s orders.

Now, the state’s high court is directing Baker County Circuit Court to either totally vacate its order by Tuesday, May 26, or argue further on why it should not.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.