Saturday, February 27, 2021

Supreme Court Allows California Churches To Hold Indoor Services While Appeals Continue

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday night in Gateway City Church v. Newsom, (Sup. Ct., Feb. 26, 2021) issued an injunction that will allow petitioner churches to hold indoor worship services while their appeal is disposed of by the 9th Circuit and a petition for certiorari is filed and acted upon by the Supreme Court. In the case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to enjoin enforcement, while the appeal is ongoing, of a Santa Clara County, California COVID-19 Order that prohibits all indoor gatherings, including worship services. (See prior posting.) In granting an injunction, the Supreme Court said:

The Ninth Circuit’s failure to grant relief was erroneous. This outcome is clearly dictated by this Court’s decision in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, 592 U. S. ___ (2021).

Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor dissented. 

SCOTUSblog reports on the Court's order, pointing out that the county had informed the Court that the current ban will soon be lifted and indoor gatherings with capacity restrictions will be allowed.