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US Supreme Court Allows San Diego Congregation to Worship Indoors

“We are heartened by this order from the United States Supreme Court allowing South Bay to gather for worship this weekend while our case against Governor Newsom continues."

Thomas More Society and South Bay United Pentecostal Church received vindication from the United States Supreme Court when the San Diego congregation was granted an emergency injunction in part late on Friday, February 5, 2021, prior to weekend worship services.

The church and its pastor, Rev. Arthur E. Hodges III, are suing California Governor Gavin Newsom for COVID-prompted discrimination that denies them the right to hold indoor worship services. Even following Newsom’s “lifting” of the stay-at-home order on January 26, 2021, California churches are still not free to worship indoors.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri, partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP, responded to the quick decision by the high court and Justice Elena Kagan, who received the emergency request filed by the Thomas More Society on January 25.

“We are heartened by this order from the United States Supreme Court allowing South Bay to gather for worship this weekend while our case against Governor Newsom continues. Throughout the COVID lockdown, the governor has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for California’s citizens and their deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs. His so-called ‘reopening plan’ is structured on the same discriminatory principles as those of New York’s Governor Cuomo, which were soundly denounced by the Supreme Court in their Thanksgiving Eve decision in Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo. For decades, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that an ‘emergency does not increase granted power,’ and they have specifically come down against excessive gubernatorial overreach during the current pandemic. It is time for the United States Constitution to be honored in the State of California and we thank the high court for upholding religious liberty and acting on South Bay’s behalf.”

The opinion of the Court was concurred with, in whole or in part, by Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts. Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Read the United States Supreme Court order and opinions issued February 5, 2021 in response to the Thomas More Society’s Emergency Application for Writ of Injunction in South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al v. Gavin Newsom, et al., here.

SOURCE Thomas More Society

PHOTO CREDIT: Thomas Hawk

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