Last week California Globe reported on the major religious liberty victory for churches in San Bernardino County, thanks to the Center for American Liberty and the Dhillon Law Group, which sent demand letters to Riverside County and San Bernardino County, which had banned all religious services, including Easter services, not online with an April 7th order. “The Order expressly prohibited residents from leaving their homes for drive-in services.” Riverside County had not responded to attorneys Harmeet Dhillon and Mark Meuser when the Globe first reported last week.
Monday, the Center for American Liberty, again in coordination with the Dhillon Law Group, filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and named San Bernardino county supervisors, Riverside County supervisors, county sheriffs, and county health officers, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, for criminalizing the free exercise of religion.
California Globe spoke once again with attorney Mark Meuser Wednesday about this constitutionally imperative case. Meuser said lawyers from the Dhillon Law Group that sued the State of California for unconstitutionally depriving Californians of their fundamental Constitutional Right to Freely Exercise their Religion, also filed an application for a Temporary Restraining Order asking the Judge to determine that the State’s actions are so blatantly wrong, that he needs to immediately rule ahead of the state even making an appearance in the case. Meuser said that the order treating churches as non-essential businesses is unconstitutional and that churches in California are free to have services as long as they practice social distancing as recommended by the CDC.
“Public agencies have no power to trample on these rights,” Meuser said. “The Legislature has the authority to grant emergency powers, but trampling on Constitutional rights is not stated. They cannot deprive you of your rights.”
“Criminalizing individual participation at a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other house of worship clearly violates the First Amendment,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, Chief Executive Officer for the Center for American Liberty. “The state and localities have granted sweeping exceptions to the shutdown orders for favored businesses and professions, while specifically targeting people of faith and decreeing to religious institutions that it is ‘good enough’ that they be allowed to offer streaming video services. The state does not get to dictate the method of worship to the faithful.”
Read all of the articles about this legal case: