In a 5-4 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of lifting restrictions on in-home religious gatherings. This decision overturned a ruling made by a lower court, which sided with restrictions set by Gov. Gavin Newsom on in-home gatherings.
This ruling marks the fifth time the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned decisions made by the liberal Ninth Circuit regarding California’s coronavirus restrictions. The ruling pointed out the obvious- which is that, before limitations can be set on religious gatherings, it must first be demonstrated that they pose a greater danger than secular activities. California even went as far as to ban singing in church, suggesting that attendees sing online from their homes.
California and Newsom have frequently made headlines throughout the pandemic, both for restrictions set and times Newsom broke them.
The courts ruling pointed out the difference in treatment between religious exercise and “other activities.” The ruling stated that California “treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts and indoor dinning at restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time.” In a previous ruling the court stated that the government cannot “assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work.”
Justice Elena Kagan, who ruled against easing restrictions, pointed out that California has “adopted a blanket restriction on at-home gatherings of all kinds, religious and secular alike,” pointing out that this is not merely about religious liberties, but a more broad restriction for any at-home gathering.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor and John Roberts also ruled against easing restrictions.
Whether for or against this decision, consider also the other four overturned Ninth Circuit decisions. Did Newsom go too far with restrictions imposed on California- businesses as well as individuals- or is this merely a trend of partisan courts?
Let us know what you think!