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Supreme Court says California cannot restrict religious household gatherings

The Supreme Court dominated in a 5-4 vote that California cannot impose COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings in households, citing the First Amendment’s proper to religious freedom.

The resolution, made Friday night time, follows different associated orders from the excessive court docket within the state. In February, the Supreme Court stated that California cannot ban indoor church providers due to the pandemic.

“This is the fifth time the Court has summarily rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise,” the most recent opinion states. “It is unsurprising that such litigants are entitled to relief.”

Indoor religious gatherings in properties have been restricted to 3 households with people required to put on face masks.

Similar to different associated circumstances, conservative justices identified that the state permits institutions reminiscent of hair salons and film theaters to function through the pandemic, and that California treats secular actions “more favorably than at-home religious exercise.” They argued that candidates can be “irreparably harmed by the loss of free exercise rights” and that California has did not show that public well being can be “imperiled” by loosening up COVID-19 restrictions. 

However, liberal justices stated “the law does not require that the state equally treat apples and watermelons.” They argued that social distancing and mask-wearing would much less seemingly be practiced by people indoors and in personal settings, and that people can be inspired to work together for longer durations of time versus these in industrial settings. 

“In ordering California to weaken its restrictions on at-home gatherings, the majority yet again ‘insists on treating unlike cases, not like ones, equivalently,’” Justice Kagan wrote in a dissent.

The Supreme Court says the order will go into impact subsequent week.