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Supreme Court Halts California Total Ban On Indoor Worship, Allows “Singing and Chanting” Restrictions

Supreme Court Halts California Total Ban On Indoor Worship, Allows “Singing and Chanting” Restrictions

So you can pray indoors with usual social distancing, but only the way the government wants, and Hollywood still gets special treatment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHsMPXvGoFc

The Supreme Court issued an Order last night partially enjoining California’s total ban on indoor church services, but leaving in place restrictions on “singing and chanting” during services (seriously).

The Order and breakdown of individual Justice opinions, is enumerated in a Concurring Opinion by Chief Justice Roberts:

The application for injunctive relief presented to JUSTICE KAGAN and by her referred to the Court is granted in part. Respondents are enjoined from enforcing the Blueprint’s Tier 1 prohibition on indoor worship services against the applicants pending disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari. The application is denied with respect to the percentage capacity limitations, and respondents are not enjoined from imposing a 25% capacity limitation on indoor worship services in Tier 1. The application is denied with respect to the prohibition on singing and chanting during indoor services. This order is without prejudice to the applicants presenting new evidence to the District Court that the State is not applying the percentage capacity limitations or the prohibition on singing and chanting in a generally applicable manner. Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this order shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the order shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court.

JUSTICE THOMAS and JUSTICE GORSUCH would grant the application in full.

JUSTICE ALITO would grant the application with respect to all of the capacity restrictions on indoor worship services and the prohibition against indoor singing and chanting, and would stay for 30 days an injunction against the percentage attendance caps and the prohibition against indoor singing and chanting. JUSTICE ALITO would have the stay lift in 30 days unless the State demonstrates clearly that nothing short of those measures will reduce the community spread of COVID–19 at indoor religious gatherings to the same extent as do the restrictions the State enforces with respect to other activities it classifies as essential.

Here is some of Roberts’ reasoning:

As I explained the last time the Court considered this evolving case, federal courts owe significant deference to politically accountable officials with the “background, competence, and expertise to assess public health.” South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, 590 U. S. ___, ___ (2020) (opinion concurring in denial of application for injunctive relief ) (slip op., at 2). The State has concluded, for example, that singing indoors poses a heightened risk of transmitting COVID–19. I see no basis in this record for overriding that aspect of the state public health framework. At the same time, the State’s present determination—that the maximum number of adherents who can safely worship in the most cavernous cathedral is zero—appears to reflect not expertise or discretion, but instead insufficient appreciation or consideration of the interests at stake.

You can read Justice Gorsuch’s opinion, joined by Thomas and Alito, here:

If I have a quibble with the Court’s order, it is with how it addresses California’s final factor, singing. While the Court’s order requires California to allow churches to open, it also permits California to enforce, for now, a categorical ban on singing during services. This much might seem understandable. California has sensibly expressed concern that singing may be a particularly potent way to transmit the disease, and it has banned singing not just at indoor worship services, but at indoor private gatherings, schools, and restaurants too.

But, on further inspection, the singing ban may not be what it first appears. It seems California’s powerful entertainment industry has won an exemption.2 So, once more, we appear to have a State playing favorites during a pandemic, expending considerable effort to protect lucrative industries (casinos in Nevada; movie studios in California) while denying similar largesse to its faithful. See, e.g., Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak, 591 U. S. ___, ___ 2020) (GORSUCH, J., dissenting from denial of application for injunction relief ). Once more, too, the State has not explained how a total ban on religious singing is narrowly tailored to its legitimate public health concerns. Even if a full congregation singing hymns is too risky, California does not explain why even a single masked cantor cannot lead worship behind a mask and a plexiglass shield. Or why even a lone muezzin may not sing the call to prayer from a remote location inside a mosque as worshippers file in….

As this crisis enters its second year— and hovers over a second Lent, a second Passover, and a second Ramadan—it is too late for the State to defend extreme measures with claims of temporary exigency, if it ever could. Drafting narrowly tailored regulations can be difficult. But if Hollywood may host a studio audience or film a singing competition while not a single soul may enter California’s churches, synagogues, and mosques, something has gone seriously awry.

Justice Barrett, joined by Kavanaugh, agreeing with Roberts about the singing and chanting restrictions:

I agree with JUSTICE GORSUCH’s statement, save its contention that the Court should enjoin California’s prohibition on singing and chanting during indoor services. The applicants bore the burden of establishing their entitlement to relief from the singing ban. In my view, they did not carry that burden—at least not on this record. As the case comes to us, it remains unclear whether the singing ban applies across the board (and thus constitutes a neutral and generally applicable law) or else favors certain sectors (and thus triggers more searching review). Of course, if a chorister can sing in a Hollywood studio but not in her church, California’s regulations cannot be viewed as neutral. But the record is uncertain, and the decisions below unfortunately shed little light on the issue. As the order notes, however, the applicants remain free to show that the singing ban is not generally applicable and to advance their claim accordingly.

Justice Kagan, joined by Breyer and Sotomayor, dissented:

Justices of this Court are not scientists. Nor do we know much about public health policy. Yet today the Court displaces the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic. The Court orders California to weaken its restrictions on public gatherings by making a special exception for worship services. The majority does so even though the State’s policies treat worship just as favorably as secular activities (including political assemblies) that, according to medical evidence, pose the same risk of COVID transmission. Under the Court’s injunction, the State must instead treat worship services like secular activities that pose a much lesser danger. That mandate defies our caselaw, exceeds our judicial role, and risks worsening the pandemic.

So you can pray indoors subject to the usual social distancing, but only the way the government wants.

In other news, Hollywood still gets special treatment.

[Featured Image: via YouTube]

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Comments

Churches need to start going “rogue” by ignoring government edicts. The optics of police storming and arresting people for practicing Constitutional rights would be horrible.

The Supreme Court is worthless; they refused to challenge the fraudulent 2020 election and now they confer faith in unwarranted intelligence of our elected fraudsters.

When you toss out the clear and unambiguous wording of the Constitution – as the Roberts court has done repeatedly – you get rulings like this bizarro, all over the map one the Court just barfed up.

Personally I feel rather used as I watch ACB slowly morph into RBG. Of all of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees I felt that she was the least likely to go full Stalinist. I was wrong. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were lefty Swamp squishes to begin with and I always felt a bit queasy about them, but Barrett is well on her way to being the worst of the bunch.

    I know, Amy is a total disaster and the other two are close behind
    The turtle knew what he was doing

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Recovering Lutheran. | February 6, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Robets and ACB. Brought to you by a Republican president. Think about it.

      So was Roberts. It doesn’t get worse than that extorted coward.

      In fairness to Trump, it is now evident the Republican Senators were solidly against him from the beginning. That is why McConnell stonewalled or slow-walked Trump’s agenda – except for judicial nominees. That always caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up: why on earth is McConnell (the ultimate Franz von Papen Republican) suddenly ramming through judicial nominees at warp speed? Now we know.

      But Trump does bear some responsibility for this. They were his nominees after all, and it is no use to pretend otherwise. Trump’s sin was to trust people who should be locked up and fed by shoving food through a keyhole. I think he realizes that now.

    What are you talking about? What’s your objection to her opinion? She agrees with Gorsuch that if Hollywood is getting an exception from the singing ban then the plaintiffs are entitled to one as well. She merely points out that there is nothing on the record to show that that is the case. Gorsuch merely accepts the assertion that it’s so, but that’s not enough. Let the plaintiffs show that Hollywood is being allowed to sing, and they will be able to sing too.

      Joe-dallas in reply to Milhouse. | February 8, 2021 at 9:32 am

      “What are you talking about? What’s your objection to her opinion? She agrees with Gorsuch that if Hollywood is getting an exception from the singing ban then the plaintiffs are entitled to one as well. She merely points out that there is nothing on the record to show that that is the case. Gorsuch merely accepts the assertion that it’s so, but that’s not enough”

      gotta wonder why you get so many down votes. If the facts arent entered into the record, the Justices cant make a ruling on such facts.

      That is the reason the district court in Bush Gore got the right answer. That is also why The US Supreme court got the right answer even though they EP instead of getting it right due to lack of facts supporting Gore in the record.

      Getting the facts correct in the evidency phase of the trial is key.

Barrett and Kavanaugh disappoint again.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Othniel. | February 6, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Two more Republican nominees. I also feel used, but it’s the idea that I’ve been voting for Republican presidents and Republican senators consistently with an idea protecting the court system. It hasn’t worked.

    Milhouse in reply to Othniel. | February 6, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    In what way do they disappoint? All they’re asking for is that the plaintiff establish that Hollywood really is getting an exception from the singing ban, rather than just asserting it. If it’s true that Hollywood is getting an exception, then the plaintiffs get one too.

Bucky Barkingham | February 6, 2021 at 12:49 pm

It seems that Associate Justice Barrett is splitting legal hairs and is more concerned with the legal process than the facts on the ground. Reading her comments gives one the impression that if the appeal had been worded more to her liking she would have ruled differently. This from the Conservatives’ favorite Associate Justice who is meant to stop SCOTUS from going full loony left.

Justice for Ashli Barritt!

    It seems that Associate Justice Barrett is splitting legal hairs and is more concerned with the legal process than the facts on the ground

    Yes, that’s exactly how it should be. The Supreme Court doesn’t know the facts on the ground. It’s not a fact-finding body. It can only go by the record before it, and that record doesn’t show that Hollywood is getting an exception. The court ought not to grant extraordinary relief, which this injunction is, without being sure that the facts warrant it, so she says merely that if the plaintiff can establish that then it will deserve an injunction.

      Joe-dallas in reply to Milhouse. | February 8, 2021 at 11:58 am

      ACB’s concurrence – “I agree with JUSTICE GORSUCH’s statement, save its contention that the Court should enjoin California’s prohibition on singing and chanting during indoor services. The applicants bore the burden of establishing their entitlement to relief from the singing ban. In my view, they did not carry that burden—at least not on this record. As the case comes to us, it remains unclear whether the singing ban applies across the board (and thus constitutes a neutral and generally applicable law) or else favors certain sectors (and thus triggers more searching review). Of course, if a chorister can sing in a Hollywood studio but not in her church, California’s regulations cannot be viewed as neutral. But the record is uncertain, and the decisions below unfortunately shed little light on the issue. As the order notes, however, the applicants remain free to show that the singing ban is not generally applicable and to advance their claim accordingly.”

      Millhouse – nothing like getting down votes from people that dont understand your statement or understand the legal reasoning from a justice.

Pinned on my GAB timeline:
“Godly men can seem lawless because they won’t submit to the rulebook of a rotten culture. But to defy tyranny is obedience to God. When you make wicked laws, the righteous will be outlaws.”

Restrictions on how I worship? I WILL NOT COMPLY.

@LB1901

While I would have preferred the opinion reflect the view of Justice Alito I will definitely take ‘half a loaf’.

The remand is going to allow the parishioners to demonstrate the unequal application regarding singing ECT. I presume that the eateries will file based on that as well.

Bottom line is SCOTUS is saying that the States are going to have to start presenting actual direct evidence, not preferences not ‘expert opinion’ but actual facts that demonstrate that these draconian lockdown restrictions are the only method that can control the Rona.

We all know they can’t meet that test. The days of deference to executive acts based on ‘temporary emergency’ are numbered. The process has been too slow to reach this point, but it seems to have arrived.

The States and localities simply invoking the word emergency like an incantation and saying ‘trust us we know best’ won’t cut it any longer.

Look for many more cases pushing this point. If nothing else good comes out, then establishment of the practical limits of executive acts without demonstrating need in place of alternatives or their unequal application will have been developed by these opinions.

    We don’t live in “America” anymore. People keep forgetting what actually happened on November 3rd and beyond.

    It’s OVER. We live in under a Junta, ultimately controlled by Communist China: their weapon has been simple bribery, and half our entire government, all of our press, all our entertainment industry, all of our sports industry – they happily sold out.

    We’re going downhill very fast, and very dangerously. There are no checks and balances that will work in time to avoid the fascism that is flying into our lives at a rocket-like speed.

    Our only hope – our only bargaining chip – is secession. Our only political leader we can trust is Donald Trump. (The GOP is actually are enemy: personified by Liz Cheney, Romney, Sasse, McConnell, and their nauseating ilk.)

    Secession: don’t leave home without it, or you’ll be without a home or a life.

      Fine,

      IMO, you are playing into the hands of the folks who want you to hold those beliefs.

      They want you to denounce the Nation. They want you to adopt a defeated attitude. They want you to write and share your depression with others. They want you to help them spread a feeling or belief that ‘the system is rigged’. They want you to stay home and say ‘I won’t vote because it won’t count’.

      In sum they want you to quit. That attitude caused tens of thousands of r/DJT voters who voted on Nov 3 to stay home in Jan during the GA Senate runoff. Two d were elected as a result.

      I would simply state that doing anything which assists the d/progressive gain office is not an effective strategy for advancing any political agenda except that of the d/progressive.

    Milhouse in reply to CommoChief. | February 6, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    The remand is going to allow the parishioners to demonstrate the unequal application regarding singing ECT. I presume that the eateries will file based on that as well.

    Eateries are not protected by the first amendment. They’re not automatically entitled to the best treatment anyone else is getting.

      CommoChief in reply to Milhouse. | February 6, 2021 at 10:44 pm

      Either dining under conditions laid out by the State to mitigate Rona is safe or unsafe no matter whom is dining nor where that occurs.

      If the mandated conditions are enough to create the conditions for ‘safe’ dining then they are to be applied equally to allow every entity the opportunity to meet those conditions and serve customers.

      Normal, everyday health regulation for operating as a restaurant are equally applied. Why would operating under Rona, as long as one is meeting the safety criteria, be applied differently?

      Obviously restaurants don’t have any claim to the 1st amendment protection, they do have an expectation that regulation of every kind will be applied and enforced equally and without favor for any particular party.

caseoftheblues | February 6, 2021 at 1:48 pm

I dont think the Dems will push hard to pack the court as it becomes ever clearer it is NOT a Conservative court majority… with 2 not being a majority of 9.

“We are not scientists … Yet today the Court displaces the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic.”

So they’re neither scientists nor experts, but they assert there is a “raging pandenic”. Actually, that statement proves they are indeed not scientists but merely hacks who parrot the “experts” they like. The pandemic is over and has been for a while, and the only things raging are arrogant non-scientist leftists.

Another thing: judges are not in place to defer to science and experts, but to weigh the contentions of those against the Constitution, a document focused on supporting liberty.

Oh, and I do not expect great things from Barrett at all.

    mark311 in reply to Longplay. | February 6, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    What experts are you referring to who think there isn’t a raging pandemic?

      caseoftheblues in reply to mark311. | February 6, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      Ones that are actually looking at the science and data and not doing the political bidding of their funding sources…those experts

      The ones you don’t hear about on XiNN or MSNBC, or whatever outlet you take your marching-orders from.

      Stick around, and open your eyes and ears: you’ll learn something.

      Like this:
      DOCTORS AROUND THE WORLD STRONGLY WARN AGAINST TAKING THE COVID VACCINE! [YOUTUBE DELETION]
      https://www.bitchute.com/video/2087V6WNIEnp/

        Yeah Kaufman is a total fraud, he sells naturopath type products, you go ahead and spend $500 dollars on your 60 minute consultation telling you . Fuck that.

        @Case of the blues, you haven’t actually linked anyone so ya know not very helpful. How am I meant to adjust my opinion if you don’t provide any evidence?

      Tallguy23 in reply to mark311. | February 7, 2021 at 5:27 am

      You spend way too much time online. Does your mom ever limit your internet usage?

    Chicklet in reply to Longplay. | February 6, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Forget the wording on death certificates. Look at the totals.

    In 2018, from ‘ourworldindata’, 3.91 million Americans died, and it went up to 3.93 million in 2019 and 3.96 in 2020. All the death certificates for 2020 are in. Most population scientists agree that as our national age gets older, the death rate will go up. For the last few years, the number of American deaths has gone up about 1% year over year.

    So, the pandemic that should have produced millions of deaths, that was so serious the entire planet had to stop for almost a year produced about the same year-over-year death rate as we’ve been seeing for the past 4 years. But hey, media ‘death counts’ look scarier than plain old statistics. Enough already!

It seems like the controversial issue here is the special status given to Hollywood. It seems clear that this special exemption is the crux of the issue since it defies the neutral application of the law. So my question is did the court have power to remove the exemption?

    CommoChief in reply to mark311. | February 6, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Ok, let me try to help.

    1. The State decrees that x act is unsafe because Rona.

    2. The State decrees no one can engage in x act.

    3. State then allows some politically favored group to proceed with x act.

    4. State forgets or ignores that some entities, Places of Worship, have an extra layer of Constitutional protection.

    Here are some of the problems:
    A. State not applying policy equally. That’s a no no. It doesn’t matter what x act is. If one group can safely engage in that act by taking certain measures then everyone can do so. The State can’t simply allow a favorite to act.

    B. State then doesn’t apply enough scrutiny to it’s own decree to ensure Places of Worship are accommodated in the least restrictive manner possible. That is a very basic principle of 1st amendment protection/ precedent.

    C. The State, in effect, replaced Places of Worship with Hollywood in terms of accommodation. Which is backwards.

    IMO, SCOTUS is saying, in a not subtle way, that States can’t expect any more automatic deference. The ‘temporary’ seems to have finally run out. The court is looking for actual direct evidence to support further State action in cases.

    The court doesn’t seem willing to continue with ‘gosh the Rona is serious and the State has a plan designed by experts’ so we will simply trust them and not require actual evidence that supports the plan. They have done that for far too long, IMO.

      mark311 in reply to CommoChief. | February 7, 2021 at 11:26 am

      Thanks commochief

      That’s not really what I was asking though, in effect the court made a judgement that partially allowed what the state was doing but could they modify what the state was proposing to make it neutral or would they have to reject the law suggesting the modification to ensure its legality the next time round so to speak. I’m relatively sure it would be the later but all thoughts welcome

        CommoChief in reply to mark311. | February 7, 2021 at 1:32 pm

        In very incomplete and simplified answer.

        The laws or decrees or whatever issued by the State are generally required to be applied equally.

        Additionally the State must apply anything that impacts the ability to worship in the least restrictive manner.

        Here the State did neither. SCOTUS in effect, sent the case to the lower court so that the State can present evidence in support of it’s restrictions. If no evidence is presented that convincingly shows a need for these restrictions as opposed to other less restrictive measures then the State will end up being forced to modify it’s restrictions.

        Further, IMO, the SCOTUS is sending a wider signal that they are generally unwilling to simply let government say ’emergency’. That was maybe fine for a month but it isn’t an ’emergency’ anymore. Emergency is a sudden surprising event in this context which requires deference to one decision maker. We are well past that point.

It is amazing how Kagan. Soto and Breyer march in absolute partisan lockstep. Not only are they terrible judges, and one near feeble minded, but they are party hacks to the point they endanger the Constitution and particularly the Bill of Rights.

    This is leftist ‘justice’: the Constitution has nothing to do with it.

    Honestly, what else do you expect from Kagan, Soto and Breyer? Even that compromised hack Roberts.

    Expecting anything from these bastards is like expecting anything intelligent or useful from the likes of Sandy Smollet, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelsoi, 8-Ball Presley, Hank Johnson, Eric Swalwell, etc.

    We’re at the breaking point: secession is our only hope.

nordic_prince | February 6, 2021 at 4:52 pm

So, in other words, TPTB feel free to continue infringing on the Bill of Rights, and to continue their shitting all over the Constitution in general.

Apparently they haven’t considered how things end for tyrants, and are eager to experience it for themselves.

Lefty protestors lead the world in chanting.

Keep your faith strong, people. Never give up God. This life is ours to live freely as we choose, but it’s also a life that we all will be judged on after we die. I keep my faith strong and do my best to be a good person. I have a feeling that will pay off in the long run with eternal life in a good place and not hell.

I’ve always wondered how certain people can hurt so many lives and do it with a straight face?

The supreme court is a joke. It’s simply a soviet style court now.

Law is dead and has been.

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