After a fifth time holding court regarding the matter of in-home religious gatherings, The Supreme Court finally ruled against Governor Gavin Newsom’s CoOVID mandates, according to Fox News.
The lawsuit was filed by a family that hosts religious in-home gatherings claiming that their First Amendment rights were being stepped on.
A divided Supreme Court finally voted in favor of the family and their religious freedoms after rejecting it at least 4 different times.
“Otherwise, precautions that suffice for other activities suffice for religious exercise too.”
The Majority of the court 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 dining at restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time.”
The majority of the court went further to point out that the State of California can’t “assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work.”
Justice Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and John Roberts all voted against relaxing COVID restrictions.
Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer joined in a statement that said that California “has adopted a blanket restriction on at-home gatherings of all kinds, religious and secular alike.”
Kagan noted that “The law does not require that the State equally treat apples and watermelons.”
The Ninth Circuit stated that “The state reasonably concluded that when people gather in social settings, their interactions are likely to be longer than they would be in a commercial setting.”
The Ninth Circuit also noted “that participants in a social gathering are more likely to be involved in prolonged conversations; that private houses are typically smaller and less ventilated than commercial establishments; and that social distancing and mask-wearing are less likely in private settings and enforcement is more difficult.”
From Fox News:
The 5-4 unsigned ruling follows other similar decisions recently regarding churches and the coronavirus pandemic. The decision noted it was the fifth time the court has rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California coronavirus restrictions.
Chief Justice John Roberts dissented but did not sign the dissenting statement submitted by justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.
The ruling stated that before it can limit religious gatherings, the government must prove they pose a greater danger than secular activities that remain open, such as shopping or attending movies.
Justice Elena Kagan, who ruled against easing restrictions along with Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and John Roberts, wrote in a dissenting opinion that the state has complied with the First Amendment because it also restricts secular at-home gatherings to three households.
A federal judge ruled against the suit, which was upheld by the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, before being overturned by the Supreme Court.