The court blocked so-called party restrictions in Santa Clara County, which critics said violated the First Amendment and treated churches differently from secular businesses.
This issue caused great disagreement in the courts. The three liberal justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor Their objections were pointed out in an order issued after get off work on Friday.
Despite the fact that the restrictions were planned to be lifted next week, the court took action.
The dispute was raised by several churches in Santa Clara County, who opposed the ban on all indoor gatherings, including political events, weddings, funerals, film screenings, and worship.
Although the Supreme Court revoked state regulations prohibiting indoor worship activities earlier this month, the state allowed counties to pass their own stricter rules.
In court documents, the attorney for the Santa Clara County church said that the county was “just that.”
The church’s lawyer Kevin T. Snider said in court documents: “The Santa Clara Department of Public Health has forced the heat and smoke in the summer and the cold and rain in the fall and winter to force Believers go outdoors.”
He said: “At such times, Article 3 courts are obliged to be jealous and enthusiastic to protect the rights of the people from the government and the other two departments of the country.”
Santa Clara County allows the chapel to achieve 20% capacity for any purpose other than worship service. Other businesses include grocery stores and retail stores, as well as hair salons, tattoo and body art salons, all allowed to operate at 20% capacity.
The lower court upheld these restrictions and considered them to be neutral provisions that apply to everyone.
In court documents, lawyers in the county distinguished its dispute from the recent Supreme Court South Bay v. Gavin Newsom (South Bay v. Gavin Newsom), which involved statewide statutes. They said that their restrictions are “fundamentally different” from other restrictions that the justices have considered because they “do not impose special restrictions on religious institutions.”
“On the contrary,” James R. Williams of the County Counsel’s Office argued: “They forbid all types of indoor gatherings anywhere.” Williams emphasized that places of worship are not closed. . They are open, so individuals can pray, confess their sins and seek spiritual guidance.
He said: “It is vital that retail stores and other secular places must comply with exactly the same rules.” He pointed out that shoppers can buy goods indoors, but cannot participate in indoor gatherings such as reading.
In a brief order from the Supreme Court on Friday, the Supreme Court disagreed, although it did not provide reasons. The court said that the outcome of the case was “obviously determined by its decision in South Bay.”