Supreme Court halts California pandemic restrictions on at-home worship

The opinion hit the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, saying the court had not asked California to say why it couldn’t allow Home worshipers to be at home in larger groups by taking precautions for non-religious activities.

“The state cannot accept the worst when people go to church, but the best when people go to work,” says the majority opinion. “This is the fifth time the court has unceremoniously dismissed the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious practice.”

The three liberal judges of the court and Chief Justice John Roberts disagreed with the majority. The dissenting opinion argued that California’s three-household limit was applied equally to “all types” of home gatherings.

“California doesn’t have to … treat religious gatherings at home the same way it does hardware stores and hair salons,” the dissenting opinion said. “The law doesn’t require the state to treat apples and watermelons equally.”

In February, the State of California’s Supreme Court blocked pandemic bans on indoor religious services, but didn’t touch rules that prohibit chanting and chanting and restrict the number of people gathered. In November, the New York court also banned the limits of religious events.

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