FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 21, 2020
Allison Payne, 314-413-8791 (cell)
Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81 Violates Minnesota Statutes and Constitution
(Golden Valley, MN) – A group of sixteen Minnesota citizens, small businesses, and churches, represented by the Upper Midwest Law Center, filed a lawsuit Thursday, August 20th, to strike down Governor Tim Walz’s unwarranted and unlawful mask mandate because it violates the Minnesota Constitution, conflicts with Minnesota statutes, creates impossible duties and conflicts for businesses, and forces the petitioners to make political statements against their will.
The petition alleges that Governor Walz is trying to override a long-standing state law passed by the Legislature that makes mask-wearing illegal, which the Governor has no power to do. Even if a court were to hold that Minnesota law allows the Governor to override properly enacted laws by his executive orders, then those statutes themselves would violate the Minnesota Constitution because they would transfer too much power from the Legislative to the Executive Branch of government. Either way, the Governor’s mask mandate is unlawful. And even worse, the mask mandate is forcing the Petitioners to “virtue-signal” their apparent agreement with the mandate, which they oppose. The mask mandate’s coerced speech violates the First Amendment’s free speech and religion clauses. These Constitutional rights and protections are obligatory, as the U.S. Supreme Court has said, “for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace,” and cannot be suspended in a pandemic.
Dr. Elizabeth Berg, one of the petitioners who initiated this legal action, said: “The mask mandate creates an impossible task for business owners. Within a week after it was enacted, a healthy, pre-screened patient with a medical mask exemption sat in my socially-distanced waiting room awaiting an appointment. Another individual refused to enter my office because the individual thought the unmasked patient was not in compliance with the mask mandate, and threatened to report our office for non-compliance. Because the Attorney General encourages people to turn their neighbors in for mask prosecution, it is nearly impossible for a business owner to uphold both the mask mandate and the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Doug Seaton, Esq., President of the Upper Midwest Law Center, added: “Governor Walz’s power grab has gone on long enough. The mask mandate is yet another example of this administration’s complete disregard for the rule of law. The Governor simply can’t ignore contrary Minnesota statutes and the Minnesota Constitution. We expect the court will restrain this conduct and restore the balance of power, the rule of law and the self-governing form of government which Minnesota has been guaranteed since as long ago as the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.”
The legal action was filed in Ramsey County State District Court on Thursday, August 20, 2020 as a quo warranto action, which asks the court to order the Governor, Attorney General, and Dakota County Attorney to show the Court why the mandate and its enforcement are consistent with state law, or cease and desist.