The U.S. Supreme Court gave California a major blow late Friday night when they ruled the state can’t bar indoor church services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it can keep a ban on singing and chanting indoors at the same establishments.
More than eight months after SCOTUS declined to intervene in a California church’s challenge to the state’s stay-at-home orders. The court was divided in its ruling with conservative justices going to either side of the issue. At least for now, Gov. Gavin Newsom will still be allowed to enforce the limit attendance at 25% of capacity.
The decision originated from a pair of challenges presented by South Bay United Pentecostal Church, located just south of San Diego, and Harvest Rock Church, with campuses in different locations in southern California. They pushed their appeals to the Supreme Court last month, citing the state’s restrictions on indoor worship services violate the U.S. Constitution.
A previous ruling from the Supreme Court last November gave the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York a victory against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, effectively blocking his enforcement of an executive order that limited attendance at worship services. It essentially paved the way for the current ruling to be established by the court.
“The California churches complained that the lower courts had “refused to recognize” the “‘seismic shift’ in COVID-19 jurisprudence” that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese had created,” According to the AP.
SCOTUS Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito indicated that they would have given the churches everything that they had asked for – that is, allowed them to reopen immediately without any limitations.
Overall, the high court got this decision right by allowing churches to open up freely. This wasn’t just a blow to California, but to the Democrats who’ve used the pandemic as an excuse to hurt businesses and places of worship. This was wrong and needed to be challenged months ago. I’m glad the ruling will finally put churches back to being semi-normal as we continue to fight COVID-19.