Supreme Court definitively puts an end to church appeals of COVID-19 orders

Above link is to the Order of the Supreme Court denying relief, Chief Justice Roberts statement in support of the Order and Justice Kavanaugh’s dissent from the Order.

Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan voted to deny the application. Roberts wrote a concurrence in support of the denial. Justices Kavanaugh, Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito stated they would have granted the application. Justice Kavanaugh wrote a dissent from denial of the application, joined by Thomas and Gorsuch, but notably NOT by Alito.

I agree with the majority here. There is no First Amendment issue and no religious discrimination at play. Chief Justice Roberts correctly posits that these matters belong solely in the domain of the political branches and are beyond the jurisdiction. Justice Kavanaugh makes a poor argument and it is notable that while Justice Alito dissented from denial, he evidently could not support Kavanaugh’s rather weak argument.

I am on long record as supporting an extremely narrow reading of the Establishment Clause and a very broad reading of the Free Exercise Clause.

But there is a limit to everything and not everything that negatively impacts religion is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause.

I am NOT a supporter of these overly restrictive lock downs. However, I don’t see any legitimate route to challenge them in the courts, particularly under the Free Exercise Clause.

Instead, and as Chief Justice Roberts and the majority posits, battles over these matters must be waged in the political branches.

In any event, hopefully Roberts’ tone puts a definite end to challenges in the Federal Courts. Federal Judge’s should regard this opinion as the end game in this matter and deny any further attempts for relief.

SCOTUS wants to be the Final Arbiters until they don’t like they way the Constitution forces them to rule. So they just refuse to take it up. Just like Peruta.

The judiciary is a political branch and the battle was waged in 1791.


As I mentioned previously, no First Amendment violation exists, thus no reason for them to issue injunctive relief. They faithfully followed the Constitution in this instance.

(NOTE: I am talking about THIS INSTANCE only. Yes, I think they failed to do so in other instances. But this is the case before us at the moment.)

Yes, it does. “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”

Both violated.

This was chicken ■■■■ because they don’t like the outcome.


Bad ruling…real bad ruling. Justice Roberts is going to be a problem in the future.


They don’t like the outcome because it takes power away from government.



I don’t agree with your assessment or the ruling of the court. I think it’s a CLEAR violation of the 1st Amendment. I’m actually stunned that Roberts voted with the other 4. Looks like we need a few more Trump SC justices that respect the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

They cannot prohibit the free exercise, which is exactly what they’re doing when they do this. I think this goes to exactly my biggest complaint with today’s government. Instead of advising and leading, they think they can MANDATE everything. Who the hell are they to tell ME, their BOSS, that I cannot get together with YOU, their BOSS, and worship the God we choose? If the risk is fine with us, the government should have NO say in the middle. I would expect them to say “Look, it’s a bad idea” but ultimately, they shouldn’t be granted enough power to do stuff like this. The Constitution doesn’t grant it. The SC is flat out wrong on this one.


So people are free to spread disease. Got it.

In your opinion. There have been rulings I did not agree with but you just have to suck it up.

seems a silly argument to argue that it must be fought in the political branches when the purpose of the amendment is to ensure the political branches stay out of it.


we let liberals roam freely don’t we?

1 Like

Nope, we had to fight like hell to get that.

Yes but you scream “Red” every time you guys see one.



Funny how cons don’t trust teh constitution.

Referring to an earlier draft of the First Amendment:

The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed. The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances

The First Congress later trimmed that text down to what eventually became the First Amendment. But clearly, the intent is that to constitute a violation of the First Amendment, there must be a patently religious discriminatory purpose. An action taken that does not explicitly target religion is not a violation.

For example, a forest fire starts early one Sunday morning and heads towards a small town. For safety, the local government temporarily restricts access to the fire zone, which may include both businesses and churches. Not a violation as the closure was not made to target any religion.

And the closures, while excessive, fall within the several State’s respective Police Powers.

The only way the churches could Constitutionally prevail is if they showed convincingly that they were being targeted for being a Church, which clearly is not the case.

Again, I oppose the lock downs on policy grounds, but that is a matter exclusively in the domain of the political branches, the Legislative and Executive.

And as a practical matter, taking the fallacious “absolutist” approach to the First Amendment would be disastrous.

Under that approach, any criminal activity by a clergy member or under the auspices of a religion would be beyond the reach of any prosecution, as the Police Power would yield to Free Exercise in all cases.

Obviously, an absolutist approach to the First Amendment does not comport with historical practice and would lead to utterly perverse results.

The First Amendment was intended to prevent TARGETED suppression of religion by the Federal Government and by the several States. It does not prevent suppression that results from a legitimate invocation of the Police Power, as long as the restrictions do not particularly target religion.

Yes, Chief Justice Roberts has blown it, particularly in regards to Obamacare. But he is correct IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE.

1 Like

Look who nominated him. Problem identified.

Free exercise thereof. Peaceably assemble.

White paper. Black letters.