Judge rejects legal challenges to Inslee’s emergency orders

The legal challenge contended “the emergency has been contained.”

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A federal judge Friday denied a request for a preliminary injunction against Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency coronavirus orders that had been brought by some Republican state lawmakers.

Filed in May, the legal challenge contended “the emergency has been contained” and that ongoing restrictions for businesses, workers and residents weren’t legally justified, The Seattle Times reported.

The legal challenge was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Judge Benjamin Settle wrote in a court order dated Friday that federal lawsuits against state officials are allowed in certain instances in which the state official has a connection with the enforcement of an allegedly unconstitutional act. However, Inslee’s lawyers persuasively argued that while the governor issues emergency orders, other officials actually enforce those orders, Settle wrote.

Since the pandemic began in March there has been little enforcement of Inslee’s emergency orders.

Settle also on Friday denied another legal challenge seeking a preliminary injunction against Inslee’s emergency powers. The judge rejected that challenge — brought by Republican gubernatorial candidate and anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman and some other plaintiffs — on similar grounds.

The two orders come roughly a week after a judge in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Washington rejected a lawsuit by a water park in Chelan County seeking to block Inslee’s emergency restrictions on businesses.

The conservative Freedom Foundation — a frequent opponent of the governor who is representing Slidewaters water park — is appealing that decision.

With cases of the coronavirus increasing across Washington, Inslee this week tightened some restrictions including operations at restaurants, bars, gyms and for weddings and funerals.

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