A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide Coronavirus face masks: America reacts and rebels 56 photos
Brown declared a statewide state of emergency on March 8 and has issued multiple executive orders since then, including the closure of all schools, non-essential businesses and a ban on dine-in service at restaurants and bars.
Earlier this month, Brown extended the order another 60 days until July 6. All but a handful of Oregon counties, however, got the state's approval to begin loosening those restrictions last Friday.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum urged residents to abide by the stay-at-home orders while the ruling is appealed.
"We will argue that the judge erred in his construction of the relevant statutes and that he abused his discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction," she said in a statement. "We will also be asking for an immediate stay of his order."
The top Republican in the Oregon House applauded the judge's ruling but cautioned people to continue to follow federal guidelines so as not to undo the progress the state has made against the virus.
"This ruling will be appealed but the need for the governor to create the least possible harm in the exercise of extraordinary power remains," she said. "There has been no accountability throughout this emergency declaration, until now."
Attorney Ray Hacke, who represented the plaintiffs in the case, said the ruling was a vindication not just for freedom of religion, but for all freedoms of people in the state.
"Praise God. I'm excited, and I'm glad that the judge saw that there are limitations on the governor's power, even in the midst of emergencies," he said. "If people want to get their haircut, they can. They can leave their home for any reason whether it's deemed essential in the eye of the state or not."