Congressional candidate’s lawsuit against Gov. Newsom set for trial

A GOP congressional candidate’s suit against Gov. Gavin Newsom over COVID-19 restrictions is proceeding to trial.

Chris Bish sued Gov. Newsom in April 2020 in the Eastern District of California alleging that he grossly abused his power by using the coronavirus pandemic to expand his authority to unprecedented lengths.

Although the state lifted its mask mandate, effective March 12, Bish said her case is not moot.

“Even though this is a temporary lifting of Gov. Newsom’s mask mandate allowing us to breathe, he still maintains the original emergency order and all he has to do is hold a press conference announcing that we are in lockdown again,” she said.

Bish is currently campaigning to represent the 6th Congressional District in Sacramento and surrounding areas.

“Plaintiffs intended to hold their protest outside, on State Capitol grounds, in a safe and socially-distant manner, staffed by volunteers to ensure the same,” wrote Bish’s attorney D. Gill Sperlein in the complaint. “By depriving Plaintiffs of their ability to hold these protests—which, due to their nature, cannot be delayed until after the pandemic without losing their purpose—Defendants violated fundamental rights protected by the U.S. and California Constitutions.”

U.S. District Judge John Mendez in the Eastern District has set Sept. 19 as the trial’s first day.

“On November 15th, 2021, I was actually deposed and that deposition was ridiculous,” Bish told the Southern California Record. “Normally, depositions are scheduled at a neutral location like a law firm but at the last minute they decided to change it. The deposition was held at the California Department of Justice in one of their conference rooms, which is not neutral.”

Mendez denied Gov. Newsom’s motion to dismiss on Oct. 5, 2021.

“Plaintiffs remain under threat that defendants will reinstate the challenged restrictions as the COVID-19 pandemic persists,” Mendez wrote in his opinion.

Bish seeks an order and judgment declaring that Executive Order N-33-20 violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the California Constitution.

“On March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, which criminalizes the engagement in all “non-essential” activities, and orders those engaging in “essential” activities to comply with certain social-distancing protocols,” the lawsuit states. “This far-reaching mandate prohibits all protesting in California for an indefinite period of time, potentially months or years, until the threat of the pandemic has subsided as determined exclusively by the governor.”

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