On April 23, 2020, The Urbanic Law Firm filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Oklahoma on behalf of ten plaintiffs whose constitutional rights are being violated by the City of Guthrie. We are asking the judge to order the City of Guthrie to cease enforcement of Ordinance 3330. The Ordinance was enacted as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. It trampled on numerous fundamental rights, so we decided to challenge it.
There are seven causes of action in this case:
- A violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- A violation of the Freedom of Assembly Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- A violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution (x2)
- A violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- A violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- A violation of 11 O.S. § 14-101, the Oklahoma Constitution, and other Oklahoma laws
The Ordinance is way over the top in its violations of the U.S. Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, and Oklahoma law. Here are just some of the outrageous violations contained in Guthrie’s Ordinance:
- It is legal to drive to the store to buy food for your dog, but it criminalizes driving to church to pray.
- It is illegal to stand six feet away from people at a church gathering, but it is legal to walk around in a grocery store, likely getting closer than six feet from other people.
- It is legal to jog on a sidewalk, but it is illegal to stand on a sidewalk, six feet away from someone, and either pray or peacefully protest.
- It is illegal to drive in a car, by yourself, merely for a leisurely drive.
- The Ordinance makes it a crime to not wear a “cloth face covering”–that the City of Guthrie does not provide.
Prior to filing this lawsuit, we gave Guthrie the opportunity to rescind the Ordinance. The last word from the City Attorney was his asking us to wait until after a city council meeting that would happen “maybe as early as Monday.” There was no guarantee that a meeting would occur, and there was no guarantee that the Ordinance would be rescinded. Fundamental rights were being violated on a daily basis, so waiting until “maybe” Monday was completely unacceptable.
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to the ten brave PATRIOTS who decided to be a part of this lawsuit. I had dozens more contact me who wanted in. Unfortunately, I had to limit the participation when I was finalizing the documents. People have been saying, “I wish somebody would do something about that!”. Well, these plaintiffs did something about that. They should be commended for not accepting government oppression. A pandemic does not give a government a blank check to do whatever it wants. The Constitution must still be followed. The goals of the City can still be achieved during these trying times, but through far less intrusive means.
Special thanks goes to attorneys Josh Lee and Riley Mulinix. Josh blazed the trail here in Oklahoma by challenging Vinita’s ridiculous ordinance. Riley helped me considerably in the drafting and filing of the pleadings.
What we filed: