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...

Acting alone, Justice Gorsuch refused to rule on an emergency petition challenging Colorado’s disaster emergency statute, meaning the statute remains in place.

In Denver Bible Church v. Polis two churches argued before the Supreme Court that the Colorado Disaster Emergency Act (CDEA) violates the First Amendment. The CDEA allows the Colorado Governor to declare a disaster emergency and issue executive orders to combat natural and...

In Tandon v. Newsom the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Ninth Circuit should have preliminarily struck down California’s and Santa Clara County’s COVID rule permitting only three families to gather in homes at a time. The Supreme Court reasoned that this rule likely violates the First Amendment because at-home religious exercise is treated less favorably than comparable secular activities.

In an unauthored decision the Supreme Court...

In Gateway City Church v. Gavin Newsom, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Santa Clara County, California, stay-at-home order disallowing indoor religious services.

In February 2021, in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, a divided Supreme Court struck down California’s ban on indoor religious services in places...

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-...

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