Supreme Court Approves Challenge to California’s COVID Restrictions on Religious Services
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What’s the story?
- The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lower court ruling that upheld coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions on indoor religious services imposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The Court’s decision comes a week after it found similar restrictions imposed on religious institutions in New York to be unconstitutional.
- The case involves Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministries, which alleges Newsom’s restrictions violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits the government from interfering with the free exercise of religious practices.
- Under Newsom’s COVID-19 rules, indoor worship is prohibited in counties designated “tier 1” due to high levels of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The guidelines require some non-essential businesses to close, but allow some to continue to operate with fewer restrictions than those faced by religious institutions.
- The Supreme Court’s order, which had no attached opinions or dissents, sends the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to be reconsidered in light of the high court’s decision in a similar case a week ago, in which it found that restrictions on religious services imposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) were unconstitutional.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / dkfielding)
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