Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced he’d filed suit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, and its Director, Faisal Khan over ongoing COVID restrictions.
The lawsuit says the restrictions put in place by Page Dr. Faisal Khan and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health were and are “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”
“This shouldn’t be about virtue signaling, this should be about the science,” Schmitt said. “Having outdoor masking requirements in St. Louis County is ridiculous. When you talk about school-age kids? Ridiculous. Talk about people having to get government permission for a barbecue? Ridiculous. Can sit next to a stranger on the bus but not next to a neighbor in church? Ridiculous.”
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, 21st Judicial Circuit, has eight counts against St. Louis County. Two of them are related to religious freedom, one alleges the county is in violation of freedom of assembly for “requiring government pre-approval for events,” another count alleges the newest COVID order is “vague and should be declared void,” and there are four counts that allege the county’s orders have been “arbitrary and capricious.”
Schmitt took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to announce the filing and explain the rationale behind it.
🚨BREAKING: The time for half measures, double speak & seemingly unending control over people’s lives must end.
That’s why today I’ve filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County for violating citizens’ fundamental freedoms.
Enough is enough. https://t.co/Tatcc4Uc2D
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) May 11, 2021
Schmitt elaborated, noting that his office had sent a letter to St. Louis County weeks ago, requesting additional information and evidence that would justify the continued restrictions imposed by the County.
3 weeks ago I sent a letter to St Louis Co expressing deep concern about the ongoing Stay-At-Hone-Order & asked for evidence for their extreme restrictions. Not only did they ignore our request for justification, they pulled a bait and switch & issued a new amended order
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) May 11, 2021
The County’s response was lacking, to say the least, and was followed by an amended order which further muddied the waters and infringed upon the rights of St. Louis Countians (all while the infection, hospitalization, and death rates have dropped off precipitously in Missouri, and most other counties in the state have lifted or significantly dialed back remaining restrictions.)
The order blatantly violates #ReligiousFreedom. The order treats churches as businesses yet they don’t enjoy the same exceptions as daycares or public transit.
So, per this order you can sit by a stranger on a bus but can’t sit next to a neighbor at church. #1A
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) May 12, 2021
Schmitt joined Marc Cox this morning on 97.1FM Talk to discuss his reasons for filing the suit (along with his thoughts on some of the goings-on in D.C. and why he’s a serious contender for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Roy Blunt in 2022.)
During their discussion (in addition to voicing his appreciation for Gen X bumper music), Schmitt noted:
We know a lot more now. Right? We’ve got a Supreme Court case that came out in April about religious liberty, vaccinations…anybody that wants to get a vaccination, at this point, can get one. And Sam Page and St. Louis County have refused to relinquish…this outsized control over people’s lives.
So, yesterday, we filed a lawsuit challenging restrictions on three kind of large grounds: One — the religious freedom argument. Right now, in St. Louis County, churches are being treated differently than other businesses. For example, you can sit next to a stranger on a bus but you can’t sit next to a neighbor that’s not a family member in a church pew. That’s wrong. Also, you know, as far as your freedom to associate — right now, in St. Louis County…if you want to have a barbecue with your neighbors, you’ve gotta get the government’s permission to go do that, and if you want to, you’ve gotta fill out a form that has a 23-point checklist. That’s ridiculous. And you also have all these other restrictions on businesses and outdoor mask mandates that aren’t even complying with science, at this point — that are totally arbitrary and caprecious….We need to reopen St. Louis County. Enough is enough.
The Petition can be viewed in full below: