SCOTUS shoots down California restrictions on indoor worship, sends case back to lower court: Reports

It was just last week that the U.S. Supreme Court smacked down Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on indoor worship in his state as unconstitutional and discriminatory, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the SCOTUS has done it again.

According to Breitbart, the Supreme Court issued a decision Thursday rebuking California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, and his own crackdown on indoor religious gatherings, which were said to be all but banned in the Golden State.

The high court vacated a lower court’s ruling and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of its recent decision out of New York, Reuters reported.

SCOTUS strikes back

According to Breitbart, the Supreme Court sided with Pasadena’s Harvest Rock Church in its Thursday ruling.

The order read: “The application for injunctive relief…is treated as a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, and the petition is granted.

“The September 2 order of the United States District Court for the Central District of California is vacated,” the order added, “and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with instructions to remand to the District Court for further consideration in light of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo.”

In other words, based on the new precedent, lower courts have been told to revisit the case. According to Reuters, there were “no noted dissents” to the decision.

Writing on the wall

In a statement announcing the high court’s move, Liberty Counsel, the law firm representing Harvest Rock Church and its related affiliates around the state, suggested that the orders impacting California houses of worship were even “more severe” than those imposed in New York by Cuomo.

“Irreparable harm is being suffered every day as the churches remain subject to the unconstitutional restrictions, coupled with daily criminal threats, fines, and closure,” the firm said.

As Breitbart reported, Liberty Counsel went on to explain that Newsom’s “Blueprint” of color-coded tiers was discriminatory in that it prohibited indoor worship services for approximately “99.1 percent of Californians,” yet “warehouses, big box centers, shopping malls, liquors stores, family entertainment and destination centers, gyms, fitness centers, and museums receive preferential treatment with either no capacity limits or no numerical limits.”

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said he’s pleased to see “these unconstitutional restrictions on places of worship” come to an end.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court provides great relief for churches and places of worship,” he said, according to Breitbart. “The handwriting is now on the wall.”

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