US Supreme Court Directs Nevada Governor to Respond to Covid Church Limit Challenge

In July, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the church and refused to issue an order blocking the 50-person cap on religious gatherings. Since July, the makeup of the Supreme Court has shifted.

Holy Mass in the Church Our Lady of Queen during the coronavirus pandemic.
Holy Mass in the Church Our Lady of Queen during the coronavirus pandemic. (photo: Dziurek / Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has given the governor of Nevada eight days to file a response to a church which argued that the state’s COVID-19 protocol was discriminatory against houses of worship.

In an order published Jan. 11, the Supreme Court directed Gov. Steve Sisolak, D, to respond to Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley before noon on Jan. 19. Calvary Chapel Dayton has until noon on Jan. 21 to file a reply brief.

In November, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley asked the Supreme Court, again, to consider their case. They argued that the state’s COVID-19 protocols, which limited the capacity of religious services to 50 people regardless of the capacity of the building, were discriminatory. Other businesses, including casinos, are permitted to operate with 25% capacity.

An appeals court sided with Calvary Chapel Dec. 15.

“The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak.

In July, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the church and refused to issue an order blocking the 50-person cap on religious gatherings. Since July, the makeup of the Supreme Court has shifted.

The Supreme Court may decide to review the case following the responses and briefs.

Also on Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case Bruni v. City of Pittsburgh, which challenged the “buffer zone” ordinance around abortion clinics. Thanks to the “buffer zone,” those who are opposed to abortion cannot come within a certain distance of the abortion facility to speak to patients.

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