Fulnecky Dodges Constitutionality Questions on Lawsuit Versus City

In a press conference called to talk about a lawsuit filed against the city of Springfield related to the masking ordinance, attorney Kristi Fulnecky avoided answering direct questions about the Constitutionality of the suit.

Fulnecky, who is representing Rachel Shelton in the case, stated at the start of a press conference the suit wasn’t about masks.

“This is not about masks,” Fulnecky said. “This is about freedom and this is about our Constitutional rights…the big question is can you Constitutionally mandate and make you wear a mask if you don’t want to.”

Fulnecky then said the ordinance violates her client’s right to privacy, freedom of expression, and religious freedom.

“She feels like she doesn’t want to have to wear a mask when she goes to church,” Fulnecky said. “When she shops, when she goes to restaurants. Additionally, she doesn’t want to be subjected to harassment by other people in the city if she chooses not to wear it.”

Fulnecky said her client has a medical condition that exempts her from having to wear a mask. She also cited a similar law in Louisiana where a court put a temporary restraining order in place until it could hear full arguments.

Shelton addressed the media and supporters after Fulnecky’s initial presentation.

“It’s just nonsense,” Shelton said. “It’s not just about the mask because you can bet this won’t be over in 90 days if we don’t stand up to this…it’s control, it’s power, it coud be about the money aspect the city’s getting for mandating the mask…it can be what comes next can be a forced vaccination.”

“Your health is not my responsibility,” Shelton said. “Your emotional well-being is not my responsibility. That belongs to you. So you do what you need to and we will do what we need to do.”

“This mayor and this city council have become abusers to the citizens of Springfield,” Shelton continued. “We don’t tolerate abuse when know a child is being abused. We don’t tolerate abuse when we know a spouse is being abused. So why are we tolerating the abuse from the city council to mandate this mask?”

During the press question time, Fulnecky was challenged by OI about her suit claiming the law is unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, where the Court ruled “upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”  The decision was cited by Chief Justice John Roberts in the May 29, 2020 ruling in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, as settled law.

When asked to show where she felt the Supreme Court was wrong, Fulnecky did not give a direct answer.

“It kind of depends on the cases like the Shreveport T.R.O. (Temporary Restraining Order),” Fulnecky responded.

When noted that the T.R.O. just delays the law until a full court hearing on matter, Fulnecky responded: “We decided to move so quickly because case law is unsettled in Missouri and other places.”

She was then asked by OI if she was saying the Supreme Court’s rulings were “unsettled case law.”

“I’m not going to go into the specific law right here and have a debate with you,” Fulnecky responded. “This is all going to get flushed out in court. I’m just saying that we have a right to sue, and that other cities are stopping the lawsuit, and we can argue on the memorandum of law all you want, but right now we’re in the complaint stage, we’re in the fact finding stage. We have enough law behind us under the Constitution, the Missouri Constitution, to file suit. But I’m happy to go into the details with you as the lawsuit progresses.”

The press conference was ended at that point.

Here is the court filing:


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