Supreme Court Ignores Case Of Churches Being Targeted Over COVID-19

( On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case from a church in Maine to prevent the state re-imposing COVID restrictions on its services.

The Calvary Chapel in Bangor said the rules imposed on Maine churches were “the most severe restrictions in the nation.” The state initially imposed a ban on gatherings for religious worship which was then modified later to permit fifty worshippers in the church. Calvary Chapel argued that the limits violated its religious freedom especially in light of the state making exceptions for other gatherings.

Problem is, back in May, Governor Janet Mills lifted the capacity limits on public indoor venues including churches. But Calvary Chapel urged the court to take up its petition anyway despite the Governor’s decision on the outside chance that the state may reimpose the rules in the future.

In its petition to the Supreme Court, Calvary Chapel cited concerns over the delta variant, writing that despite the lift on capacity limits, the church “remains under a constant threat” that Governor Mills may reverse course and reinstate “her unconstitutional restrictions at any time.”

Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the church’s motion for an injunction without offering comment – which is standard practice at the Court.

But the reason seems obvious. How can the Court issue an injunction against something that might happen in the future, but isn’t happening now? The restrictions are not currently in place since the governor lifted them in May.

It certainly isn’t the case that the Supreme Court is reluctant to block state-imposed COVID restrictions on religious institutions. Since last fall, there have been nearly a dozen cases in which the Court ruled in favor of a church.

In April, after multiple rebukes from the Supreme Court over his limiting worship services in California, Governor Gavin Newsom was forced to lift all capacity restrictions on houses of worship.

In November 2020, the Supreme Court granted the Catholic Diocese and orthodox Jews’ request to block Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attendance limits at houses of worship in New York.