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California Almost Bans House Churches

Supreme Court Blocks California’s Restrictions on In-home Religious Gatherings

The Supreme Court late Friday ruled against California, blocking the restrictions ban on in-home Bible studies and other religious gatherings.

The court’s narrow 5–4 ruling was in favor of a group of Santa Clara residents who asserted the restrictions violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

“Applicants are likely to succeed on the merits of their free exercise claim; they are irreparably harmed by the loss of free exercise rights ‘for even minimal periods of time’; the State has not shown that ‘public health would be imperiled’ by employing less restrictive measures,” an unsigned opinion of the court’s majority said in its opinion.

The ruling is the fifth time the nation’s highest court has overruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on California COVID-19 fueled restrictions, including a February ruling that saw the court grant a worshipper’s application asking for restrictions on in-person religious services be rolled back.

“It is unsurprising that such litigants are entitled to relief. California’s Blueprint System contains myriad exceptions and accommodations for comparable activities, thus requiring the application of strict scrutiny,” the majority wrote on Friday.

          by Zachary Stieber. Continued here.

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