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Supreme Court rebukes the 9th Circuit Court over continually upholding COVID-19 church restrictions

April 13, 2021

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the most overturned court in the nation and it looks as if the Supreme Court is getting sick and tired of having to hear the same basic case over and over again when it comes to State dictators trying to use COVID-19 as an excuse to trample on religious freedom.

For the fifth time the highest court in the land has had to reaffirm the unconstitutionality of restricting people’s access to worship during the pandemic and it looks like the Supreme Court’s patience is wearing thin. In addition to overturning the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling which upheld Herr Newsom’s ban on church the Supreme Court basically told the lower court that enough was enough. Here is more:

This is the fifth time the Court has summarily rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise. See Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, 592 U. S. ___ (2020); South Bay, 592 U. S. ___; Gish v. Newsom, 592 U. S. ___ (2021); Gateway City, 592 U. S. ___.

It is unsurprising that such litigants are entitled to relief. California’s Blueprint System contains myriad exceptions and accommodations for comparable activities, thus requiring the application of strict scrutiny.

And historically, strict scrutiny requires the State to further ‘interests of the highest order’ by means ‘narrowly tailored in pursuit of those interests.’ Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520, 546 (1993) (internal quotation marks omitted). That standard ‘is not watered down’; it ‘really means what it says.’” Ibid. (quotation altered).

It means what is says! It is not up for interpretation. And here is more from the same decision:

The same impatience is clear throughout the decision, beginning with the first paragraph of the decision’s analysis: “The Ninth Circuit’s failure to grant an injunction pending appeal was erroneous. This Court’s decisions have made the following points clear.”

In other words, how many times do we have to tell you to stop it?! More still:

The majority then walked the Ninth Circuit through a Constitution 101 explanation of what the lower court should not require being reminded:

“First, government regulations are not neutral and generally applicable, and therefore trigger strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause, whenever they treat any comparable secular activity more favorably than religious exercise … It is no answer that a State treats some comparable secular businesses or other activities as poorly as or even less favorably than the religious exercise at issue.”

“Second, whether two activities are comparable for purposes of the Free Exercise Clause must be judged against the asserted government interest that justifies the regulation at issue … Comparability is concerned with the risks various activities pose, not the reasons why people gather.”

I doubt this will have any impact on the 9th Circuit Court’s continued attack on the freedom of religion but it was still nice to see the Supreme Court try to send the lower court a message.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2021 1:26 am

    If they only would have done their job with the election fraud… I’ve lost all respect for them after their denials to hear the cases.

    Liked by 1 person

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