5th Circuit Grants Emergency Injunctive Relief for Mississippi Church that Burned Down
On Wednesday, the First Pentecostal Church in Mississippi burned down. The police suspect arson. Investigators found graffiti on the lot that read, “”Bet you stay home now you hypokrits.” Before the fire, the church had challenged the City of Holy Springs’s closure order.
The district court denied injunctive relief “in an expedited fashion,” and the church appealed to the Fifth Circuit. The per curiam panel (Higginbotham, Southwick, and Willett) granted partial relief. Specifically, the court enjoined portions of the closure order, so long as the church complies with certain social-distancing guidelines:
Accordingly, we recognize that in this fast-shifting landscape of COVID-19 regulations, temporary deferral of a decision may effectively be a permanent denial. In the interim, pending the district court’s decision, the City is enjoined from enforcing against the Church the Faith Based Organizations sections of Executive Order 6 and Executive Order 7.
Judge Willett wrote a one-page concurring opinion. He faulted the city for how it
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