(JustPatriots.com)- In a Supreme Court decision along ideological lines, the high court ruled that a lawsuit brought by the High Plains Harvest Church in Colorado against their Democratic Governor Jared Polis be referred back to the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for injunctive relief.
The church challenged Governor Polis over capacity limits set during the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming the state’s actions unlawfully targeted places of worship.
An attorney for the church, Barry Arrington, wrote, “Today in Colorado it is perfectly legal for hundreds of shoppers to pack themselves cheek by jowl into a Lowes or other big box store or patronize any one of the thousands of other retail establishments that are not subject to draconian numerical limits. But if 51 people were to meet to worship God in a small rural church in Ault, Colorado, they would do so at the risk of being fined and imprisoned.”
Moreover, Arrington said his clients “feel as though they have stepped through the looking glass into a world where the right to shop for gardening supplies is a favored activity, while meeting as a body to worship God corporately has been relegated to the category of unnecessary of even superfluous.”
Justice Elena Kagan was joined by the rest of the liberal wing of the court, Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent.
Justice Kagan argued that the case was moot since Colorado lifted capacity restrictions following the Supreme Court’s decision regarding a related court case. The court ruled 5-4 in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo in a case that also pitted houses of worship against the state over capacity limits.
In that unsigned order from November, the court stated, “Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”
Many court observers see these rulings by President Trump’s most recent court nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as a sign of decisions to come. With Justice Roberts often on either side of important issues, conservatives are sure to appreciate her help for the sake of Constitutional issues.