On Friday, the Supreme Court decided that churches in Nevada are not exempt from mandates on social distancing and shutdowns after a Nevada minister brought a lawsuit to the court saying that worshipper’s religious rights were being violated. Conservatives on Twitter promptly lost their minds and haven’t stopped since.
John Roberts has abandoned his oath.
But, on the upside, maybe Nevada churches should set up craps tables? Then they could open? https://t.co/6pWoOwg9ts
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 25, 2020
The decision has since been the subject of much debate, with conservatives insisting that casinos, which the SCOTUS decided can reopen at 50 percent capacity as per state mandate, are being treated better than churches.
According to POLITICO:
‘The church had argued the cap was an unfair attack on its First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion. It pointed out that the state allowed higher caps for restaurants and casinos — 50 percent capacity — but would not let its 90-person congregation assemble, even with social distancing protocols. A federal court upheld the state’s policy, and the church sought an appeal last month at the 9th Circuit.’
Trump appointee and conservative Neil Gorsuch wrote the dissenting opinion of the four other more conservative judges, saying:
‘The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.’
Because the church in Nevada could not prove that they were being treated differently than other public buildings, they lost their case in court. Justice Roberts was not alone in that decision, but conservatives insist they’ve been betrayed, regardless.
‘The Supreme Court’s decision was issued without comment. But in his June decision against the church, U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware wrote that other secular institutes that partake in activities similar to a house of worship are also restricted. Other venues with congregating audiences — such as museums, movie theaters and concert venues — are subject to similar or stricter restrictions, he wrote.
‘”It is not enough for Calvary to demonstrate that the directive is intermittently not being enforced against secular activities,” Boulware wrote in his decision. “Calvary must also demonstrate that Defendants are only enforcing the directive against places of worship.”‘
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