Covid-19

Across the country, state and local governments are moving quickly to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks through making emergency declarations. Washington state was the first to do so on February 29th.  Emergency declarations can allow officials to quickly secure and utilize targeted funding, in addition to potential allocations from the federal government.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the primary form of assistance to states, territories, tribes and localities may come in the form of federal...

A divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s “Tier 1” total ban on indoor religious services, while allowing a 25% capacity limitation. Most of the state is currently under Tier 1 COVID-19 restrictions. It also allowed California’s to continue banning singing and chanting during indoor services.

While a number of Justices issued opinions, the Court issued no majority opinion.  Chief Justice Roberts’ two-...

In Danville Christian Academy v. Beshear the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Sixth Circuit decision to remain in place which upheld Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order closing all K-12 schools, including religious schools, from November 18 until January 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor’s “school” executive order temporarily closed all elementary, middle, and high schools but allowed preschools, colleges, and...

The U.S. Supreme Court sent two cases involving limits on religious service attendance back to lower courts to reconsider in light of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York v. Cuomo. In that case the Court ruled 5-4 that New York’s limits on attending religious services to 10 or 25 people while grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, etc. could admit as many people as the liked, likely violated the First Amendment. Prior to the New York case the...

Over no noted dissents and without an opinion, the Supreme Court ordered a federal district court to decide again whether California may ban all indoor religious services in counties most severely hit by COVID-19. The order instructs the federal district court to reconsider this case, Harvest Rock Church v. Newsome, in light of the Supreme Court decision last week in...

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