DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a Republican representing Douglas County, said he intends to file a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis, over his use of executive power since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Neville and attorney Stanley Thorne made the announcement Wednesday afternoon outside the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. He said he hopes to file the lawsuit directly to the Colorado Supreme Court by Thursday.
Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin will also be a plaintiff, Neville said. According to an aide to Neville, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and its executive director Jill Hunsaker Ryan will be listed as respondents, as well as the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, El Paso County Public Health.
Neville and his attorney argued the governor’s use of executive orders, in response to a pandemic, has left his constituents without a voice. While he said he takes issue with more than 160 orders, he singled out the statewide mask mandate, saying it is unconstitutional.
“I think the governor has gone well beyond the power that’s been given to him. He’s actually legislating and writing laws; that is our job as a legislator,” Neville said. “As a legislature, we write the laws, he approves them.”
Polis issued the mask mandate on June 16, after seeing what he called a “significant uptick” in the number of COVID-19 cases. The order has since been extended.
In a statement sent to CBS4, Polis responded to Neville’s announcement, saying, “we are free to be on the side of a deadly virus that has taken the lives of too many friends, parents, and loved ones, or on the side of Coloradans. I’m on the side of Coloradans.”
Neville was joined by John Bandimere Jr., track president at Bandimere Speedway. He also announced he will be filing his own lawsuit in district court sometime next week.
In July, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the speedway prior to a July 4 event that was expected to draw thousands more than the crowd limit. Weeks later the speedway reopened after reaching an agreement with Jefferson County Public Health.
“We’ve negotiated, we’ve compromised, we’ve practically begged the Jefferson County Health Department to allow us just to run our business,” Bandimere said.