Supreme Court forces lower court to review church restrictions
Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif., and other churches in the state sued for relief from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on indoor worship throughout most of the state. A U.S. district court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state’s restrictions, but the Supreme Court on Thursday vacated those judgments and told the lower courts to reconsider. The two-sentence, unsigned order with no written dissents pointed to the justices’ decision blocking similar restrictions on Jewish synagogues and Catholic churches in New York City last week.
What is Harvest Rock’s complaint? The church argued that Newsom, a Democrat, imposed stricter rules on religious institutions than businesses, creating an undue burden on the churches’ free exercise of religion. The state responded by saying it had a compelling interest in preventing the spread of the coronavirus through churches.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties on the court’s decision for New York’s synagogues.
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