CA Churches Return to SCOTUS

Jan 26, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the second time, Liberty Counsel filed 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 on 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.

Last December, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley and Calvary Chapel Lone Mountain in their lawsuits against Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s unconstitutional 50-person worship bans. As a result, there is now a conflict of decisions among the Ninth Circuit. 

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. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We have returned to the U.S. Supreme Court because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not follow the High Court’s roadmap. It is unconstitutional to ban all worship for nearly seven months. And it makes no sense to strike down a ban on 100 and 200 people in Tiers 2-3 but uphold a total ban in Tier 1.” 

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