CA Churches Appeal Again to SCOTUS

Jan 25, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Liberty Counsel will file an injunction pending appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against Governor Gavin Newsom’s worship restrictions. 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the injunction pending appeal for Newsom’s “Blueprint” Tiers 2-4, but denied it for Tier 1 and the Regional Stay-at-Home Order. Tiers 2-3 placed a 100- and 200- person cap on all houses of worship despite the size of the building. Tier 1 bans ALL WORSHIP in houses of worship. The three-judge Ninth Circuit panel for Harvest Rock Church said it was bound to follow the recent panel decision in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, which was released on January 22.

On July 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom banned all indoor worship, and on August 28 the “Blueprint” continued to ban all worship in Tier 1, which covered most of the state. Then on December 3, Gov. Newsom issued a “temporary” Regional Stay-at-Home Order that continues to ban all worship for 99.9 percent of California residents. Today, Governor Newsom lifted the Regional Stay-at-Home Order but the “Blueprint” which bans worship for more than 99 percent of the state is still in effect. 

In today’s decision, Judge O’Scannlain wrote separately in which he said that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion not only conflicts with the Supreme Court case involving churches and synagogues, but it also conflicts with a prior Ninth Circuit panel that struck down the 50-person limit in Nevada. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We will return to the Supreme Court for the second time. Striking down a restriction of 100 and 200 people in Tiers 2-3 and upholding a total ban in Tier 1 makes no sense. California’s total ban on worship since July 13 is the most severe in the country. This will not stand. The High Court has already issued a clear road map that leads to the ultimate conclusion that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban of worship is unconstitutional.” 

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