Supreme Court denies Illinois churches' bid for lockdown relief

Justices suggest dispute was moot; action is awaited on parallel California fight.

5/30/2020 5:45:00 AM

The Supreme Court has turned down a bid by two Chicago-area churches for relief from stay-at-home orders Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued as part of an effort to control the spread of coronavirus

Justices suggest dispute was moot; action is awaited on parallel California fight.

The justices suggested the dispute was moot after Pritzker and other officials moved Thursday toinstead of mandatory.Advertisement"The Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidance on May 28. The denial is without prejudice to Applicants filing a new motion for appropriate relief if circumstances warrant," the court wrote in

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Friday evening.The order appeared to be unanimous, as no justice publicly recorded any dissent.The Romanian churches — one in Chicago and one just outside the city — took their complaints to the Supreme Court after being cited by local officials for violations of the lockdown orders. Lower courts declined emergency relief, but their lawsuits claiming that the orders violated the Constitution's guarantees of freedom of religion remain pending.

Attorneys for the churches argued that their clients still urgently needed protection from an overbearing state government because there was no guarantee that the orders would not be reissued. However, the justices said the churches were free to come back if that transpired.

A similar battle over California's Covid-19-related limits on religious worship remains pending at the court. A San Diego-area Pentecostal churchis seeking emergency relieffrom Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders, which currently restrict religious services to 25% of a church's maximum authorized capacity and no more than 100 people.

The church has asked the high court to act in time to allow for more expansive services this Sunday, which is the holiday of Pentecost. Action on the request could come later Friday night. Typically, a majority of the justices would have to back the church's plea for the court to issue an emergency injunction.

While churches in various states have complained that the restrictions are excessive and unfairly put religion at a disadvantage to businesses like liquor stores, state officials have defended the measures by noting mass infections that have taken place at multiple churches across the U.S. and around the world.

Medical experts say the close contact of a typical church service, coupled with singing and loud talking, creates a major danger for the spread of droplets containing the virus. Read more: POLITICO »

My God. Are you really this dishonest? THEY SAID IT WAS MOOT. They denied it WITHOUT PREJUDICE. You're either really stupid or really dishonest. Maybe both. Hire someone who understands the law to write about SCOTUS.

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