Thursday, December 17, 2020

Supreme Court, 7-2, Refuses To Reinstate Injunction Against Kentucky School Closing Order

 In Danville Christian Academy, Inc. v. Beshear, (US Sup. Ct., Dec. 17, 2020), the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 7-2 refused to reinstate a district court's injunction against the Kentucky governor's November 18 COVID-related school closing order. The 6th Circuit had stayed the injunction. The governor's Order was challenged by a Christian school. The majority said in part:

The Governor’s school-closing Order effectively expires this week or shortly thereafter, and there is no indication that it will be renewed. The Order applies equally to secular schools and religious schools, but the applicants argue that the Order treats schools (including religious schools) worse than restaurants, bars, and gyms, for example, which remain open. For the latter reason, the applicants argue that the Order is not neutral and generally applicable....

Under all of the circumstances, especially the timing and the impending expiration of the Order, we deny the application without prejudice to the applicants or other parties seeking a new preliminary injunction if the Governor issues a school-closing order that applies in the new year.

Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion that Justice Gorsuch joined. And Justice Gorsuch filed a dissenting opinion that Justice Alito joined. SCOTUSblog discusses the decision. (See prior related posting.)