California Bible Worship Group Seeks Emergency Application from SCOTUS
Yesterday, I blogged about the 9th Circuit’s decision in Tandon v. Newsom. This decision upheld California’s complete prohibition of bible worship in private homes. I’ll admit, the panel’s decision irked me. Now, I often read a judicial decision that I disagree with, but that does not make me angry. This decision made me angry. Why? Because it will waste everyone’s time. This decision would require the worshipers’ counsel to scramble an emergency application to the Supreme Court. And the California Attorney General will have to reply. The Justices will have to struggle over yet another COVID case. And one month later, at least five Justices will enjoin the policy. Or California will withdraw it at the last moment, in a game of whac-a-mole. By now, the process is old habit.
Since Justice Barrett’s confirmation, four emergency application has gone against the government. At this point, the 9th Circuit should be able to discern the Court’s approach. Instead, the Ninth Circuit acted as if the Chief’s South Bay I decision was still the controlling precedent, and used the incorrect comparator. For these reasons, I did not find it a good use of my time to even describe the decision.
This Court has issued four orders in just the past five months unequivocally holding that governments may not restrict the free exercise of religion—even in the name of fighting a pandemic—if comparable nonreligious activities are not subject to the sa
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