LOADING

Type to search

Supreme Court Rules 5-4 To Uphold Pandemic Orders Limiting Church Service

Share

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Early on in the pandemic, I wrote about how governors can shutdown churches under the Constitution.  On Friday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 along those lines to reject an emergency appeal from a California church over the imposition of limits on the size of attendance at services.  The church came close to prevailing. Chief Justice John Roberts joined his liberal colleagues in upholding what he said were limits that “appear consistent” with the First Amendment. The cost ruling is an indication of how courts are applying closer scrutiny to the treatment of churches as opposed to other institutions allowed to have greater numbers of people.

Last week, President Donald Trump has pledged that he will “override” state orders barring in-person religious services unless governors do so.  As I have previously noted, the President is claiming authority that is expressly denied to him in our system of federalism. While I have warned such deference given to the states wanes with time, any order to reopen churches in a given state will be based on the inherent authority of the courts, not the President.  The Administration can, and has promised, joined legal challenges to such state orders but it is not claiming the inherent authority of presidents to “override” state decisions.  The Justice Department has warned Newsom that his order is contravening constitutional rights.  However, now that the Supreme Court has ruled, any move by President Trump to “override” such orders would directly contravene the authority of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of what the Constitution means in such conflicts.

Roberts wrote in a brief opinion that the state could restrict churches to 25% of their capacity, with no more than 100 worshipers at a time. The court also rejected an appeal from two churches in the Chicago area that objected to Gov. Jay Pritzker’s limit of 10 worshipers at religious services.

In his concurrence, Roberts wrote:

“The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement. Our Constitution principally entrusts “[t]he safety and the health of the people” to the politically accountable officials of the States “to guard and protect.” Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11, 38 (1905). When those officials “undertake[ ] to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties,” their latitude “must be especially broad.” Marshall v. United States, 414 U. S. 417, 427 (1974). Where those broad limits are not exceeded, they should not be subject to second-guessing by an “unelected federal judiciary,” which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.”

The Roberts decision is striking in fairly cursory treatment of the other options for the state given the obligation of the state to must show that the limits are “justified by a compelling governmental interest” and “narrowly tailored to advance that interest.” The sharp division shows, as we discussed earlier, how such deference to the states in a pandemic tends to wane with time.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that the state had failed to satisfy the high standard for review in such limits on the free exercise of religion.

California has ample options that would allow it to combat the spread of COVID–19 without discriminating against religion. … But absent a compelling justification (which the State has not offered), the State may not take a looser approach with, say, supermarkets, restaurants, factories, and offices while imposing stricter requirements on places of worship. The State also has substantial room to draw lines, especially in an emergency. But as relevant here, the Constitution imposes one key restriction on that line-drawing: The State may not discriminate against religion.

In sum, California’s 25% occupancy cap on religious worship services indisputably discriminates against religion, and such discrimination violates the First Amendment. The Church would suffer irreparable harm from not being able to hold services on Pentecost Sunday in a way that comparable secular businesses and persons can conduct their activities. I would therefore grant the Church’s request for a temporary injunction.”

Here is the opinion: South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom

via zerohedge

40 Comments

  1. T. Pookna May 31, 2020

    Sad decision by U.S. Supreme Court

    Reply
    1. Tim May 31, 2020

      the same idiots that take an oath to the document, know very little about the content of the document. socialism 101

      Reply
    2. Phil May 31, 2020

      Yes. There is nothing honorable about Robert’s. And the clown that Wrote this article thinks Trump is over stepping his authority, so what does this clown think the supreme court is doing. Pandemic or not, there is nothing in the Constittution that gives the government the right to do this. And if Robert’s, the lover boy of Obama knew how to do his job he would know that.

      Reply
    3. Les Landers June 11, 2020

      Seriously Roberts really needs to read the Constitution!

      Reply
  2. russell remmert May 31, 2020

    is God still with the court

    Reply
    1. Tim May 31, 2020

      GOD was ruled not essential in 1962. The coup that killed the POTUS was the result of this. The birth of the oligarchy

      Reply
  3. patrick May 31, 2020

    Roberts is wrong in this as the very foundation of this country was freedom of religion to worship as we saw fit without government interference. And now not only did the court interfere but they gave government power over the freedom of the first amendment. Congress must act and change this travesty of justice.

    Reply
    1. Noyb May 31, 2020

      Come to services with black belts in martial arts present .

      Also, have people in congregation armed to restore the Constitution by any means necessary.

      Reply
      1. Tim May 31, 2020

        Abe Lincoln ended your right to private property in 1865. YOU pat rent to the sheriff, slave to the STATE! OBEY !

        Reply
    2. T Beach May 31, 2020

      Well we know thats not going to happen with Piglosi running Congress. She is gonna back her nephew Newsome no matter what he wants to do.

      Reply
      1. Les Landers June 11, 2020

        Actually I think WUSSIE Newsome is doing Piglosi’s bedding!

        Reply
  4. George T Horvat May 31, 2020

    Even before I read the article I just knew that it was that Anal Orifice Roberts. Attending church is “not” a social function! What this idiot Roberts doesn’t understand is that these events are orchestrated in such a way that attending church is a personal invitation from God to meet with us individualy. Attending mass is not a social gathering.

    Reply
  5. Steve Johnson May 31, 2020

    I suggest Roberts retire so that a qualified person can be appointed.

    Reply
    1. tony wise May 31, 2020

      Steve Johnson –not only roberts, how about ginsberg, beyer, sotomayer

      Reply
    2. Les landers June 11, 2020

      Agree %100. He already screwed the Constitution by making his own law on obama care!

      Reply
  6. Bob O'Brien May 31, 2020

    A sorry day that Roberts was appointed to the S.C. His understanding of religion is so far wrong and its importance to our society. Nowmore then ever we need God’s help.

    Reply
    1. Tim May 31, 2020

      and to the stupid, the Bush family were good Americans ? George HW Bush helped kill JFK, then tried to kill Reagan

      Reply
    2. jrhunt May 31, 2020

      Bob O’Brien What makes you think that Yahweh(God) needs religion to function,these churches do not define the Kingdom of God nor do they have really anything to do with it,going to church is not worship,worship is how a person lives his life on a daily basis,I do not attend any church and would no longer be caught dead in one of them,a relationship with Yahweh is a one on one deal,have you ever heard of a personal relationship come by proxy,we are all required to approach Yahweh God alone,not through some Pastor or preacher,they know this is how it works but would rather keep folks in line by feeding them a pack of lies,that way the religious leaders can keep those tithes and offering come in and their fish on the hook.

      Reply
      1. Truth May 31, 2020

        But God in his Word the Bible says Do Not forsake the assembling of yourselves together – God/Jesus instituted the Church and we are to assemble. Going to church is worship. God gives us Pastors! Plain and simple. The foolishness (to the people of the world) of preaching is to preach the Gospel.

        Reply
        1. jrhunt June 1, 2020

          No where in the bible is a church ever mentioned in scripture(Hebrew scriptures),,Yahweh/Yeshua did not institute the so called church,,it was called the Way,and was never referred to as Christian,it was simply an assembly or congregation or community of believers of Yeshua,this mess we have now in the western church,the church of today is not worship because it isn’t biblical,its not the same model that Messiah left us with when Yeshua ascended back to the right hand of Yahweh,you can’t even find the word Christianity in scripture and Christian is only found three times,Yahweh may have given us Pastors,but I promise you he didn’t give us the present day version of a Pastor where it has become a profession rather than a calling,did you ever wonder why the Christian interpretation of scripture and the Hebrew/Aramaic version were so different,its because the Christian theologians have never really obeyed the commands of Yahweh and are spiritually discerned or judged by their own actions,and you Christians have lapped it up like the fowl water it is,you have no wisdom because your religion is secular to the bone,and secular societies and religions can not produce wisdom,you are like the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 you lack the wisdom of God and have forsaken the source of that wisdom, which is Yahweh’s Torah or the one you refer to as the old Testament,preaching the Gospel is the power of God,but it has to be the truth,not a Christian version of it.

          Reply
  7. Noyb May 31, 2020

    It is time to restore the Constitution by any means necessary .

    It means armed community guards in hidden locations by the houses of worship , and as far as personal use of anti aircraft weapons to deal with police helicopters .

    Interfering with the Constitution must be made fatal to the governments health .

    Reply
    1. Tim May 31, 2020

      IT was your “honest” FBI agents that used tanks and CS gas against citizens in their church/home in 1993. WISE UP !

      Reply
  8. Dee May 31, 2020

    Roberts is a Disgrace ! His rulings for the Most part are as Disgusting as the liberals on the Court !!

    Reply
    1. tony wise May 31, 2020

      Dee you are so right

      Reply
  9. Joan May 31, 2020

    Our court system must be changed. The majority of the people should rule. That is what freedom is about. There is no more room in this country for political rule.

    Reply
    1. Tim May 31, 2020

      democracy IS mob rule. Lincoln destroyed the republic the founders gave us. That is when America became Amerika

      Reply
  10. thamir May 31, 2020

    supreme court or supreme pizza ,choose

    Reply
  11. Max May 31, 2020

    When we continue to turn our back on God we can not expect His blessings to continue on this nation! In the Old Testament the people followed the leaders in charge! When the Kings were unrighteous toward God so were the people! That seems to be where we are today!!
    The highest court of our nation is now LIMITING OUR RIGHT TO WORSHIP GOD IN A CHURCH GATHERING!! GOD PLEASE HELP US AS A NATION TO TURN BACK TO YOU!!!!

    Reply
    1. Pat Duncan May 31, 2020

      I agree

      Reply
  12. Larry May May 31, 2020

    Unamerican communist Roberts needs to be removed

    Reply
  13. Deborah May May 31, 2020

    Gid rid of Roberts

    Reply
  14. Ron Stevens May 31, 2020

    This gose aginst the first amendent these judes swor to up hold the constitution. They should be remove from office for going aginst the constitution.

    Reply
  15. Jon May 31, 2020

    THIS IS THE WAY IT STARTED IN NAZI GERMANY AND COMMUNIST RUSSIA. THE PROGRESSIVE SOCIALIST COMMUNIST FASCIST RACIST DEMOCRAT PARTY IS
    FOLLOWING THE SAME PATTERN AND THEY ARE USING OUR OWN SUPREME
    COURT TO ACHIEVE DESTROYING OUR FREEDOM.

    Reply
  16. Carol Fryer May 31, 2020

    Well…I gave Roberts the benefit of the doubt the first time…but this just showed hes with the wrong pack.

    Reply
    1. Randy Lamb May 31, 2020

      I agree Carol Fryer; he is a leftie for sure.

      Reply
  17. Texas Tea Partier May 31, 2020

    Might be time to take a gun to church so that you can fight your way in! Otherwise, you might be practicing your religion at home while hiding from the virus and the federal prosecutors like they do in Russia!

    Reply
  18. Terry June 1, 2020

    They didn’t vote to over rule – they voted to not take the case – a BIG difference. It sets no precedence whatsoever. I disagree in that I feel they should have taken the case.

    Reply
  19. DV June 1, 2020

    ROBERTS HAS BEEN AROUND THOSE LEFTIES TO LONG. THOUSANDS CAN GO TO THE BEACHES AND DESTROY OUR CITIES BUT YOU CAN’T GO TO CHURCH. THIS COUNTRY IS ALREADY A SOCIALIST COUNTRY AS FAR AS I CAN SEE.

    Reply
  20. Raymond Wiles June 2, 2020

    Justice Roberts is” OUT OF LINE” Because the Constitution Says “Congress Shall Make NO LAW Restricting Freedom Speech , or OF The Press ,nor of The Right of The People To Peaceably Assemble , Nor The Right To Petition The Government For A Redress Of Grievance , And It Doesn’t Make Any Distinctions Between The Times Then Or Now — That Is What The Constitution Reads YOU SEE THERE ISN’T ANY DISTINCTIONS MADE –That Is Where Justice Roberts is VERY MUCH OUT OF LINE

    Reply
  21. cb June 10, 2020

    A disgraceful decision limiting the faithful from exercising their constitutional rights because somebody may die that day. People die everyday, but lately all people die of this virus and the citizenry are being denied their freedoms by little governors that want to be Kings. Americans will never get back the rights taken during this event in America. what a shame we gave in so easily

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *