If Govs. Jay Inslee and Kate Brown get their way, COVID vaccinations will soon be a condition of employment for public employees in Washington and Oregon.
This week, Inslee and local officials announced that the state of Washington, King County and the city of Seattle would require their employees to either be fully vaccinated against the virus or face possible termination. Oregon’s Brown quickly followed suit, announcing all public employees under the state executive branch of government would also be required to vaccinate or lose their job.
In response, the Freedom Foundation has been flooded with phone calls, emails and messages through social media asking for assistance. “Who, if anyone, is going to stand up and fight back against this government overreach?” they ask.
Last year, the Freedom Foundation filed lawsuits up and down the west coast to address the unconstitutional COVID-related overreach of liberal governors. In addition to filing lawsuits, we discovered through public records requests that Washington health officials were using faulty reporting methodology in order to inflate the number of COVID deaths.
In several cases, Washington even classified gunshot victims as COVID deaths.
The first lawsuit we filed was against Thurston County, one of the initial counties in Washington to require masks in public. The Freedom Foundation was successful in that lawsuit, but a few days later Inslee imposed a statewide mask mandate.
The Freedom Foundation responded by filing a lawsuit against the governor for abuse of his emergency powers. That case is still pending.
Known as the Sehmel case, it was originally filed in Lewis County, but the state wanted it to be heard in Thurston, with the judge’s ruling now on appeal to Division II.
Our opening brief is due Sept. 13.
Another lawsuit challenging Washington’s mask requirements was filed in Skamania County. The Freedom Foundation filed a reply brief in the Court of Appeals, Division II, challenging a similar request by the state to move the case to Thurston County Superior Court because we believe the case should stay in Skamania County, where our clients — the actual victims of Inslee’s dictates — live and work.
In Oregon, the Freedom Foundation launched a similar legal battle in July 2020 over abuse of her Brown’s emergency powers in Mooney v. Oregon[BM1] .
The legal process is a long one, and while the concern of the day for many is related to forced vaccinations, the Freedom Foundation’s current litigation may end up being crucial in limiting the governor’s ability to turn emergency powers into a monarchy.
The Freedom Foundation is not anti-vaccine, but believes strongly in individual liberty and choice. We will continue to actively work to hold government accountable, and to question the legitimacy of what appears to be clear overreaching of authorities.