Last week we reported that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan ordered California Gov. Gavin Newsom to respond to an emergency petition filed by Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which requests an injunction pending appeal in their federal lawsuit against the governor.
Apparently the governor and his legal team ignored the church’s emergency petition, eliciting the directive from Justice Kagan.
The church alleged that the governor’s executive orders imposing lockdowns since March specifically target and discriminate against houses of worship in California.
Just last week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Brooklyn, New York Diocese and Orthodox Jewish synagogues in their case against the state’s COVID restrictions, Catholic News Agency reported.
Catholic News Agency said Harvest Rock Church reported that following Newsom’s order, local officials began sending letters “threatening up to 1 year in prison, daily criminal charges and $1,000 fines against the pastors, church, governing board, staff, and parishioners” if they did not comply with the restrictions.
“The church filed the lawsuit against the state, but a district court would not grant its request to halt the restrictions. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled against the church in October, refusing to overrule the district court’s decision and saying that while the state provided expert testimony to support its public health restrictions, the church had not provided its own health expert to make its case.”
The Thomas More Society reported they won a major victory Tuesday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. “The federal court vacated the district court’s October 15, 2020, order denying South Bay United Pentecostal Church’s motion for injunctive relief against California Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-prompted discrimination. The church in Chula Vista, California, has been fighting for the right to hold unrestricted indoor worship, something the governor has criminalized,” the Thomas Moore Society reported.
As a result of the recent United States Supreme Court rulings in Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom and Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo that upheld religious rights against excesses in gubernatorial power, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case back to the lower court.
Paul Jonna, Thomas More Society Special Counsel applauded the action, saying. “The guidance from the Supreme Court makes it abundantly clear that California’s restrictions on houses of worship are blatantly unconstitutional. We are confident that South Bay will fully vindicate its fundamental constitutional rights in short order.”
The order issued December 8, 2020, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in in South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al v. Gavin Newsom, et al., is available here.
This is huge.
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