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Scott Herndon lives in Sagle, Idaho.
Start Date: June 6, 2020
We are raising funds to support the ONLY lawsuit against the Idaho governor challenging the legality of the Idaho Corona Virus Stay Home and Stay Healthy orders. The lawsuit was filed April 30 in federal court and is Case 1:20-cv-00205-DCN.
In March, the Governor of Idaho made it a crime to leave your home for any religious or faith-based purpose. By Governor Brad Little's order, Christians and others could be thrown in jail for attending church, meeting with their pastor or receiving the sacraments of the Lord's Supper or Baptism. Pastors were told by sheriffs that they might be visited by Idaho State Police if they assembled, and one pastor was told by his city's police chief that it was illegal under the governor's order to even meet in a drive-in service.
When the governor changed his orders
in mid-April, restrictions on faith-based and spiritual gatherings were still
restricted with all faith-based and spiritual travel and assembly determined by
the governor to be "non-essential". For churches in Moscow, on the
border with Washington, if a church goer lived across the border and wanted to
travel to Sunday church services at their church in Idaho, they would first
have to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon entering Idaho since church
services continued to be non-essential under the governor's order.
If you were sick and called for the elders to anoint and pray over you for healing, you and the elders would be guilty of a misdemeanor under the Idaho governor's orders.
It was obvious to some Idaho pastors and church goers that the orders were a fundamental violation of the right to assembly and religious expression found in the First Amendment. While at the beginning of Covid-19, when data was still being collected, it may have been wise not to meet for a time, the Idaho governor did not even give the option or decision making authority on how to practice our religion to Idahoans. He simply banned religious assembly and practice altogether across the entire state, every nook, cranny, meeting house or farmer's field.
So, 7 of us filed a federal lawsuit against the Idaho governor and his health and welfare director on April 30, 2020 in federal district court in Idaho. We have a great team of attorneys, and you can read our complaint and affidavits at https://www.beatirs.com/macpherson-defends-constitution.
A lawsuit is a fundamental exercise of another of our first amendment rights - to petition our government for a redress of grievances. When the governor issued his orders, the Idaho legislature was not in session, and he has not called it into session. So, there has been no legislative review of his actions. There has also been no judicial review of his actions. That is what our lawsuit aims to accomplish - a judicial review of the governor's orders and whether they were a violation of Idaho law and federal law.
Normally, the Idaho attorney general
would file an answer to our complaint, and proceedings would begin in federal court
as we attempted to come to a resolution with the state of Idaho in our favor.
Instead, the Idaho AG has not even yet answered our complaint and has instead
verbally threatened our attorneys with sanction for even filing the lawsuit
(under FRCP Rule 11). In fact, the AG's office just served written notice of a
Rule 11 claim on us, but in the notice he gave us less than 7 days to respond,
when the rule itself grants 21 days.
It is obvious by this effort that the Idaho AG has decided an appropriate strategy is to play the bully and add delays even at the outset of this case in order to increase our costs to get our claims a judicial review. The governor appears to be avoiding judicial review even if he has to browbeat Idaho citizens and their attorneys with legal threats in the process. Of course, Idaho has at their disposal vast sums of money compared to ours (including $1.25 billion that the US Congress gave o Idaho for Corona Virus relief). Our attorneys are being very generous with their time and their talents, but they do have families with children, and they do need to eat and pay the costs of their business. We are hoping you will partner with us as we pursue this needed litigation against Idaho's governor in federal court. Our plaintiffs, whose claims you will be assisting, are:
Scott Herndon, a church goer from Sagle, Idaho
Josh Jones, pastor of Laclede Community Church in Laclede, Idaho
Michael Gulotta, pastor of Grangeville Christian Reformed Church in Grangeville, Idaho
Tim Remington is a current Idaho state representative and is pastor of The Altar Church in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Gabriel Rench is a church goer in Moscow, Idaho, is a candidate for the Latah County board of commissioners and is co-host of CrossPolitic
Chris Schueler is a resident and church goer in Kootenai County, Idaho
Don Martin is a church goer in Boise, Idaho