Lindsey Graham, the owner of Glamour Salon in Salem, Oregon, filed suit in federal court on Thursday against Governor Kate Brown (D-Portland), the State of Oregon, and the multitude of state agencies Brown sicced on her. Graham reopened her business in May in defiance of Brown’s coronavirus lockdown orders, and soon found herself the target of coordinated harassment by the state.
Brown declared a state of emergency in March in the face of the CCP coronavirus pandemic and ordered all non-essential businesses, churches, and schools closed.
In an interview with PJ Media, Graham discussed the reason for her lawsuit. “I can’t back down now,” she said. “I’ve had so many donations to the foundation, and I wanted to show others that we need to stand up and fight back. Hopefully this gives other people the courage and bravery to stand up against these orders.”
“What Kate Brown has done to Oregon’s economy is dangerous and irresponsible,” Graham told PJ Media.
In May, Graham set up a non-profit foundation after receiving an outpouring of donations to a GoFundMe account set up by a friend. The Glamour! Institute for Freedom, a 501c3, will fund Graham’s legal costs, but will also provide funding for any other Oregon business that decides to fight back.
As of July 10, the GoFundMe account had raised just north of $72,000.
Graham’s attorney, Ross Day, called the actions of the state Orwellian in the suit:
The conduct of the Defendants represents the absolute worst abuses of power one could possibly imagine. Even George Orwell would be shocked and appalled at the Defendants’ conduct. At the heart of the Defendants’ conduct is the Defendants’ ultimate goal: make Plaintiff Lindsey Graham an example to anyone else who may try to experience personal and economic freedom.
Graham said in the interview that the lawsuit focused on violations of her civil rights by the State of Oregon. She received threats and fines from Oregon Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division and had a bogus complaint filed against her at Child Protective Services (CPS), triggering several visits to her home and interviews with her family.
“We filed because the state violated my right to due process,” Graham said. “At no time did I get a chance to prove that my business could operate safely and maintain social distancing. We also filed on the equal access under the law part of the constitution. My lawyer found a clause in Kate Brown’s executive orders closing salons that explicitly exempts hair salons at nursing homes. So the most vulnerable members of our society could get their hair done, but somehow my business is more dangerous?”
“The other aspect was Kate’s violation of my First Amendment rights,” Graham said. “We said in the lawsuit that, because I opened my salon in protest, the state essentially retaliated against me for asserting my right to protest.”
Graham and her husband own the salon, a gym, and a handful of tanning salons. She said the lockdown orders have been ludicrous. “My husband runs the tanning salons,” Graham said. “They are about as easy to maintain social distancing as you can think of. Plus, the UV light is an instant disinfectant against the virus. Those businesses could absolutely be operated safely. Customers go into a room by themselves, and never have contact with the attendant. Plus, there’s a mental health factor here. Here in Oregon, many folks have a Vitamin D deficiency and get a doctor’s note that they have to tan to keep their Vitamin D levels up.”
The lawsuit was filed in federal court to avoid the bias Graham and her attorneys fear from state courts. “Kate Brown has appointed all the judges in the Oregon courts,” she said. “We wanted to go over her, where she doesn’t have jurisdiction.”
A previous lawsuit filed by several churches initially resulted in a stay on Brown’s emergency orders. The state Supreme Court reversed that stay the very same day. Notably, Kate Brown appointed five of the seven justices on the Supreme Court, and prior Democrat governors appointed the other two.