Wednesday, March 22, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court sides with challenge to California’s Covid religious service curbs


People worship while standing in the Pacific Ocean at the ‘Saturate OC’ beach revival held amid the COVID-19 pandemic on August 7, 2020 in Newport Beach, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a blow to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s pandemic-related ban on indoor religious services, siding with a church that defied the policy and challenged it as unconstitutional religious discrimination.

The decision followed a similar action by the justices on Nov. 25 that backed Christian and Jewish houses of worship that challenged New York state restrictions in coronavirus hot spots.

The justices, with no noted dissents, set aside a lower court ruling that rejected a challenge to Newsom’s policy by Harvest Rock Church Inc, which has several campuses in the state, and Harvest International Ministries Inc, an association of churches. Both are based in Pasadena, a city in Los Angeles County.

The justices directed the lower court to reconsider the case in light of their ruling in the New York case.

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