Posted originally on the conservative tree house April 10, 2021 | Sundance | 148 Comments
In a narrow 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court has blocked California from stopping in-home bible study groups from their religious assembly. Chief Justice Roberts joined the three leftist judges Kagan, Bryer and Sotomayor. [pdf link here] Apparently the first amendment barely survived this visit by the high court.
♦ Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
(SCOTUS BLOG) – […] In an unsigned opinion, the majority wrote that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s failure to put California’s COVID restrictions on hold was “erroneous.” The Supreme Court’s decisions in earlier challenges to COVID-related restrictions have, the justices wrote, “made several points clear.” Among other things, the majority stressed, government regulations are subject to heightened scrutiny whenever they treat any secular activity more favorably than religious activity; it doesn’t matter that the state also treats some secular businesses or activities poorly. Moreover, the majority added, a case may remain a live controversy even if the government changes the policy – particularly when, as here, “officials with a track record of ‘moving the goalposts’ retain authority to reinstate those heightened restrictions at any time.”
In her dissent, Kagan contended that the First Amendment “requires that a State treat religious conduct as well as the State treats comparable secular conduct.” That, she wrote, is what California has done, by adopting “a blanket restriction on at-home gatherings of all kinds.” (read more)