(The Center Square) – Five businesses have sued Gov. Tim Walz over his executive orders that have shuttered thousands of businesses.
The Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC), a Golden-Valley based public interest law firm, argued the orders violated the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, argues the plaintiffs’ businesses suffered severe damages while others such as bait shops, large retail stores, and direct competitors were allowed to open or stay open.
The plaintiffs are:
- Northland Baptist Church of St. Paul, and Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, which have been prohibited from holding in-person religious services
- Glow In One Mini Golf L.L.C. in Blaine, which has been prohibited from operating although golf courses can.
- Myron’s Cards and Gifts Inc. which has locations in Bloomington, Coon Rapids, Roseville, Blaine and Mankato.
- Andrew Hulse and Gay Bunch-Hulse, who own 18 | 8 Fine Men’s Salons in Maple Grove and Wayzata and have been shut down by executive orders while pet groomers have been allowed to operate.
The suit says Myron’s suffered $350,000 in damages while competitors such as Target, Walgreens, and CVS were allowed to stay open and sell similar products.
Other plaintiffs argued they are trained to operate safely.
Hulse’s employees are trained in infection control, the suit says, and operating through curbside sales under Executive Order 20-48 provides only 2.5 percent of regular store sales.
The suit argues the stay-home orders exceed statutory authority granted to Walz, and that the orders violate equal protection and due process rights.
Walz’ stay-home order stretches through May 18.
UMLC President Doug Seaton said in a statement the orders are a violation of the First Amendment.
“Gov. Walz’ scheme of selecting economic winners and losers by wholly shutting down some businesses while allowing others to remain open violates the Plaintiff businesses’ 14th Amendment due process and equal protection rights,” Seaton said.
“The Constitution requires that the Governor respect the individual rights of all citizens at all times, narrowly tailor any restrictions, and apply the same rules to all. It is clear that his continuing lockdown executive orders fail these constitutional requirements.”
The suit seeks monetary damages, a declaration that Walz lacked authority to issue the orders and an injunction prohibiting Attorney General Keith Ellison and other county attorneys from enforcing penalties for violating the executive orders.
UMLC Chair Howard Root said the executive orders constitute government overreach.
“We cannot sit idly by while the governor uses this pandemic to shred the Constitution – especially when Gov. Walz has so many alternatives to fight the spread of COVID-19 that can be fairly applied in a constitutional manner,” Root said in a statement.