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SCOTUS Rejects Request From California Church To Block Worship Restrictions

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The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected a request from a church to block California restrictions on religious services.

South Bay United Pentecostal Church of Chula Vista, California, filed a petition over Memorial Day weekend saying that Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions “arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” according to CNN.

But the Supreme Court rejected this request Friday in a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with liberal justices on the bench.

“Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote, the publication reports.

Kavanaugh, writing for both Thomas and Gorsuch, said that he would grant the “Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses.”

“Such discrimination violates the First Amendment,” he added.

Newsom said Monday that churches may re-open but that services must be limited to 100 people or 25% capacity, according to CNN. A lawyer with the Thomas More Society representing the church said the church will amend the petition to reflect the updated order as the challenge goes forward.

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Attorney Charles LiMandri, who serves as Special Counsel to the Thomas More Society, said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the case is “far from over.”

“Our next appellate brief is due in the Ninth Circuit on June 5,” he said. “If it is necessary to go back up to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Ninth Circuit rules again, we will benefit from a much more favorable standard. We are hopeful that fact would also lead to a better result for religious liberty.”

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About Mary Margaret Olohan

One comment

  1. Thomas K Pedersen

    The question that needs to be answered by the Court is whether “Freedom of Religion” may be limited by the size of the congregation wishing to attend services. The limitation of 100, for example, does nothing to harm a church with 100 or fewer members. If a church has 1000 members, however, the ruling denies 90% of the members the opportunity to actively worship. So…the court may be saying, “small churches have Constitutional protections, but large ones…not so much.” For them, it is like saying you have the right to the keys to your front door so you have possession, but only allowing one member of the family inside at one time. And you are told you have legal possession of the house…not sure that is true in a practical way, and if it isn’t then it is not true at all.

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