SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry filed its Reply Brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting an emergency injunction pending appeal (IPA). Liberty Counsel represents Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which has many churches in every Tier level set forth by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Blueprint.”
The Ninth Circuit ordered Gov. Newsom to respond by 9 am December 28, and the churches to reply by 9 am December 29.
In the original 2-1 opinion in which Judge O’Scannlain dissented, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with his reasoning in the Thanksgiving Eve decision of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo and Agudath Israel v. Cuomo. On Thursday, December 3, in the Harvest Rock Church case, the High Court granted cert, vacated the lower court orders involving the emergency petition of the churches, and directed the district court to reconsider in light of the Court’s decision granting an injunction for churches and synagogues in New York. The District Court denied the churches’ request for an injunction, and the case was immediately appealed again to the Ninth Circuit.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Catholic Diocese, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two decisions granting an injunction against Nevada’s restrictions on houses of worship where the restrictions are far less severe than in California.
Yesterday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the Catholic Diocese and Agudath Israel cases also issued an injunction against New York’s restrictions, which are also less severe than those imposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Gov. Newsom continues to argue against reality in light of the decisions from the Supreme Court, two decisions from the Ninth Circuit, and now the Second Circuit. Gov. Newsom’s discriminatory restrictions are doomed.
In Tier 1, which covered 99.9% of California, no indoor worship is permitted while many non-religious gatherings either have no restrictions on the number of people or can operate within a percentage of building occupancy. In Tiers 2-3, houses of worship have numerical caps of 100 and 200 respectively, no matter the size of the building. Similar non-religious gatherings have no numerical caps.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Every day the roadmap is clearer that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s severe restrictions on houses of worship violate the First Amendment. Even though Gov. Newsom continues to deny reality, the fact is his color-coded scheme will succumb to the Constitution. Houses of worship face irreparable harm when the faithful congregants face criminal threats for worshipping. No person in America should be faced with the choice of worship or prison.”
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