By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
On Thursday, the owners of Kevista Coffee in Bend addressed their recent $27,000 fine from Oregon OSHA for willfully violating COVID rules.
In their statement over social media, Kevin and Krista Lauinger say it was their constitutional right to disregard state orders and continue indoor dining while Deschutes County was in “extreme risk.”
“There’s no emergency order that negates the Constitution,” Krista said.
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The Lauingers say that it was “very unconstitutional to take those rights away” when Governor Kate Brown restricted indoor dining.
In their statement, they reference national and state “founding documents.”
“They were created in times of grave emergency, just like this,” Krista said. “So, you know, we really wanted to stand on that and open up legally because that is our right if you look into those founding documents.”
Charles Fried is a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, former Massachusetts Supreme Court judge, and former Solicitor General of the United States.
Fried says the justification made by Kevista’s owners has no basis in fact or law.
“It is an attempt to somehow overrule the whole 20th Century,” Fried said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Fried says the state does not need compelling grounds to restrict a business for health or sanitary purposes, as long as it’s reasonable.
He considers a global pandemic to be reasonable.
“If the correct statutory or local authority was there, then the notion that there’s a constitutional right is complete nonsense,” Fried said.
Fried points out that businesses are regulated in all sorts of ways on a normal basis – for example, opening and closing hours, safety regulations, or disease control.
“It’s an absurdity beyond imagination that this person brings up,” Fried said. “It’s really too bad that people have such a completely mythical view of what their constitutional rights are.”
You can watch the full interview with Charles Fried below: