Colorado Supreme Court declines to hear lawsuit over mask mandate

By: - August 28, 2020 4:02 pm

Gov. Jared Polis gives an update on the extent of the coronavirus pandemic and the extend of the state’s wildfires on Aug. 18, 2020. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)

The Colorado Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge filed this week by two prominent Colorado conservatives against Gov. Jared Polis’s mask-wearing mandate and other state orders aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19.

The lawsuit, announced by conservative personality Michelle Malkin and Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville on Aug. 26, named Polis and multiple state and local public health officials as defendants. Represented by a legal team including attorney Stanley Thorne and Randy Corporon, an Aurora radio host and Republican National Committee member, Malkin and Neville took the unusual step of filing their suit directly before the state’s Supreme Court, arguing that the weighty separation-of-powers issues raised by the complaint warranted the attention of the state’s highest court.

In a two-sentence order issued Friday, the Supreme Court denied a petition to review the case directly. Neville did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a press conference on Wednesday, Thorne acknowledged the possibility that the case would need to first be heard in a lower court.

“We hope that the Colorado Supreme Court will exercise its original jurisdiction because of the significance of the issues that we’re bringing to the table,” he said. “If that’s not allowed by the Colorado Supreme Court, then we’ll be filing it immediately in state district court here in Denver County.”

In a statement released through a spokesperson, Polis welcomed the court’s decision.

“Mask wearing is a proven way to slow the spread of this deadly virus, will help keep businesses open, save lives, and keep our economy growing,” Polis said. “I’m glad the Supreme Court stands with the people of Colorado in our fight against the deadly virus, in which mask-wearing is one of our most effective weapons.”

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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Reporter Chase Woodruff covers the environment, the economy and other stories for Colorado Newsline.