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SCOTUS Sides with Colorado Church Over COVID Attendance Caps


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Finally!

It appears the Supreme Court is finally defending our Constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court has sided with a Colorado church over attendance limitations due to COVID-19.

The decision was made in a significant 6-3 conservative majority.

Blue states have been limiting attendance at churches across the country.

Critics have pointed out the hypocrisy.

Many of these states allow bars and strip clubs to remain open…

But in some cases, they’ve limited attendance at churches!

The right to exercise religious freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment!

Now, it appears that the Supreme Court is defending that right.

More details below:

As a result of this ruling, it appears that the state of Colorado will be forced to lift its caps on church attendance.

CBS News has more details on this case:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with a Colorado church challenging the state’s capacity restrictions on houses of worship during the coronavirus pandemic, the latest order from the high court, now with a 6-3 conservative majority, in favor of churches and synagogues seeking to hold worship services during the ongoing crisis.

In an order with three dissents, the high court tossed out an August decision from the federal district court in Colorado that kept the attendance limits in place and sent the dispute back to the lower courts for further consideration in light of its November order barring New York from enforcing capacity restrictions at houses of worship.

In that case, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of churches and synagogues that argued New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s limitations on attendance at religious institutions in coronavirus hotspots were unconstitutional.

Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented in the Colorado case, writing it is moot because Colorado lifted the attendance limits in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the challenge to New York’s coronavirus restrictions.

“Absent our issuing different guidance, there is no reason to think Colorado will reverse course — and so no reason to think Harvest Church will again face capacity limits,” Kagan wrote. “When ‘subsequent events’ thus show that a challenged action cannot ‘reasonably be expected to recur,’ a case is well and truly over. ”

In a similar case involving New Jersey’s limits on attendance at houses of worship, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the lower courts to revisit the dispute in light of its decision blocking the restrictions in the New York case.

The dispute over the capacity restrictions was brought by High Plains Harvest Church, a church in Ault, Colorado, and its pastor, Mark Hotaling. Colorado capped attendance at houses of worship to 25% of their posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 50 people, in specific geographic zones as part of its efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. But the church argued the limitations violated the First Amendment and claimed the state was discriminating against religious gatherings in favor of secular gatherings.

But the federal district court in August and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November declined to block enforcement of the capacity restrictions.

In its filing with the Supreme Court asking it to lift the cap, High Plains Harvest Church said “it is difficult to imagine more blatantly unconstitutional discrimination against religious gatherings in favor of secular gatherings.”

“Applicants feel as though they have stepped through the looking glass into a world where the right to shop for gardening supplies is a favored activity, while meeting as a body to worship God corporately has been relegated to the category of unnecessary of even superfluous,” lawyers for the church wrote in their request.

It is now being reported that Colorado is categorizing all houses of worship as critical and “essential businesses.”

This suggests that churches will be able to remain open during the pandemic.

And now… with this Supreme Court decision, there will not be limitations on peoples’ ability to practice their faith!

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the Colorado case, will other blue states follow suit?

Colorado isn’t the only state that has limited the ability to exercise religious freedom.

The Washington Examiner confirms that the state of Colorado has now dropped restrictions due to the Supreme Court ruling:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday said that the Supreme Court’s decision in a New York case prompted him to drop coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship.

In a brief filed to the court, attorneys for Polis responded to a suit raised by High Plains Harvest Church, which was seeking injunctive relief from his 50% capacity limit on churches. Polis urged the court to dismiss the case, pointing to the fact that his administration removed all limitations on the church this week.

“After careful consideration and consultation with counsel, Colorado amended its public health order to ensure that it complied with the Court’s free exercise framework by removing all numerical capacity restrictions from houses of worship, no matter which level of the public health order dial applies in a particular county,” attorneys wrote. “Houses of worship remain categorized as critical businesses in Colorado — but now with no more, or different, restrictions than any other critical business.”

Colorado’s reversal comes shortly after the court signaled a major change in its attitude toward houses of worship seeking relief from state and local restrictions. The Supreme Court shortly before Thanksgiving decided in favor of Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of violating the First Amendment by implementing heavier restrictions on churches and synagogues than he did on businesses.

That decision, in which Justice Amy Coney Barrett was the decisive vote, paved the way for a similar decision favoring California churches and opened the door for appeals from churches in New Jersey and Nevada. Barrett’s vote changed the consensus reached this summer in rulings against two churches in California and Nevada seeking injunctions against gathering restrictions. In both cases, Chief Justice John Roberts cast a swing vote against the churches.

Finally…

It appears that common sense and Constitutionality are coming back to America.

We hope this trend continues!



 

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