Roberts joins liberal justices to rule against church challenging harsh COVID restrictions

News & Politics

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the high court’s liberal justices to rule against a California church seeking to overturn Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limits on church attendance.

The significant development received little attention due to ongoing protests and riots in cities across the U.S., sparked by the tragic death of George Floyd.

In a 5-4 decision, which was handed down just before midnight, Roberts and the Supreme Court’s liberal justices ruled against South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista.

The ruling upholds Newsom’s restrictions, which limit churches to 25% capacity or 100 maximum total attendees during a church service. South Bay United, which typically sees between 200-300 worshipers during its services, challenged the order by arguing that it violated their First Amendment rights.

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Roberts, however, disagreed.

The chief justice wrote in a brief opinion that Newsom’s restrictions “appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.”

“Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time,” Roberts wrote. “And the Order exempts or treats more leniently only dissimilar activities, such as operating grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.”

The court’s steadfast conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh — dissented.

Kavanaugh, who wrote the dissenting opinion, said that California’s “safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses.”

“Such discrimination violates the First Amendment,” Kavanaugh declared.

“California’s 25% occupancy cap on religious worship services indisputably discriminates against religion, and such discrimination violates the First Amendment,” he explained. “The Church would suffer irreparable harm from not being able to hold services on Pentecost Sunday in a way that comparable secular businesses and persons can conduct their activities.”

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28 Comments

  1. 5-4, everything else is ok, and this came to a 5-4 vote. They once ruled in favor of slavery. Oh well.

      1. It should be a religious first amendment question with heightened scrutiny before restrictions if the church is willing to operate safely, e.g., by using outdoor space.

        The same reasoning could be used to cancel secret ballot elections….and perhaps this is happening.

      1. Roberts is a Coward. Read the Constitution, learn the restrictions on government. We are in this mess due to mass ignorance

    1. Roberts is compromised due to Obama’s mass surveillance on thousands of Americans, all illegally.
      Still Roberts is a gutless Quisling for caving in to Tyranny. He will resign within in the next two years

    2. Roberts has been an unknown since he was appointed. I had high hopes for him to support our country when he was appointed, but he had dissapointed me, as well as many of my fellow citizens.

    3. Roberts is being Blackmailed by Obama who unsealed court Docs showing Roberta falsified adoption paperwork on his two children. Said they were from South America to get them in the country because their country of origin is Ireland which had a restriction on foreigner’s adopting children at the time.
      That’s just the way Obama rolls.

  2. So the state does not require a business to adhere to the 25% limit requirement but it does enforce it on Churches, specifically? If that is the case, the law is unconstitutional. To say a business that provides jobs is critical and exempt from the law, but a Church that is protected by the US Constitution, is not critical, is over reach, illegal and unconstitutional.

    The First Amendment specifically prevents the government (federal, state, local) from making laws which regulate the establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …

    So what part of this amendment does Justice Roberts not comprehend? Going to Church is voluntary, no one is making them attend against their will. The constitution is very clear about no limiting or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Attending church is clearly and without question the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court is supposed to be our best judges and wisest people; apparently it is just a bunch of political appointees with personal agendas; disgusting. Roberts decision in this case proves him to be an ignorant, corrupt, cowardly judge who is an obvious supporter of the Deep State and a total embarrassment to the court and our country!

    1. Might be time to clean house at the Supreme Court since it no longer cares what the Constitution says. The Constitution trumps all of those idiots.

      1. All we can do is hope that RBG can’t last (Not Die) for much longer. we need 5 to four all of the time and your right, Roberts is a Turncoat. He has no problem going against the Constitution.

    2. well all the pentecostals need to do is go on a rampage, scream at police, loot a few targets…

    3. In this case, the government is not making laws. The governor is making a law, equivalent to declaring martial law.
      It is reasonable to allow grocery stores and hospitals to operate.
      It needs to be more than reasonable, it needs to be compelling, to cancel elections and to cancel church services if they can accommodate safety regulations.

  3. Roberts name appears several times on Jeffrey Epsteins ‘guest’ lists, and we all know what he did on his island….and photographed.

    Seems Roberts is compromised.

  4. Roberts is a Constitutional sell-out. He ‘rules’ according to his cowardice in the face of making just determinations.
    It is absolutely critical that we get the word out to Americans who value their freedoms and way of life to keep the Senate Republican and to return Trump to office so that we can add another TWO Conservative Justices who’ll consistently vote to uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
    Liberal Justices Ginsberg (87) is close to death or total infirmity, and Justice Stevens (81 is not far behind. And BOTH gone would get enough of a shift in the SC that it would effectively nullify sell-out CINO ( conservative in name only) Roberts.
    So, get the word out there and SHOUT IT OUT loudly and clearly! (If Justice Thomas decided to retire in that time frame he, too, would be replaced with a Constitutionalist Justice. )

  5. It should have never been that close that Jeffrey Epsteins island guest’s vote mattered. Shows just how close we are to becoming China’s western colony.

  6. The constitution is DEAD.

    Review Marbury vs. Madison SCOTUS

    This was the ruling of the United States Supreme Court shortly after the “Civil War” in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866) which yet stands to this day:
    “The Constitution for the United States is a law for rulers and people equally in war and in peace…at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine…was ever invented… then that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the exigencies [emergencies/urgencies] of government.”
    pp. 120-121
    “…there is no law for the government of the citizens, the armies or the navy of the United States, within American jurisdiction, which is not contained in or derived from the Constitution.”
    p. 141
    In 16 American Jurisprudence 2d, a legal encyclopedia of United States law, suspension of the Constitution is prohibited, as follows:
    “It is sometimes argued that the existence of an emergency allows the existence and operation of powers, national or state, which violate the inhibitions of the Federal Constitution. The rule is quite otherwise. NO emergency justifies the violation of any of the provisions of the United States Constitution.”
    Section 71
    “…Neither the legislature nor any executive or judicial officer may disregard the provisions of the Constitution in case of an emergency…”
    Section 98
    Therefore, ANYONE who declares the suspension of constitutionally guaranteed rights (to freely travel, peaceably assemble, earn a living, freely worship, etc.) and/or attempts to enforce such suspension within the 50 independent, sovereign, continental United States of America is making war against our constitution(s) and, therefore, we, the people. They violate their constitutional oath and, thus, immediately forfeit their office and authority and their proclamations may be disregarded with impunity and that means ANYONE; even the Governor and President!
    “A law repugnant to the Constitution is void. An act of Congress repugnant to the Constitution cannot become a law. The Constitution supersedes all other laws and the individual’s rights shall be liberally enforced in favor of him, the clearly intended and expressly designated beneficiary.” – Marbury vs. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (SCOTUS—1803)
    “An unconstitutional law is void and is as no law. An offense created by it is not crime. A conviction under it is not merely erroneous but is illegal and void and cannot be used as a legal cause of imprisonment.” – Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (SCOTUS—1879)
    “An unconstitutional act is not law. It confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.” – Norton vs. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425 (SCOTUS—1886)
    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule-making or legislation which would abrogate them.” – Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (SCOTUS—1966)
    “The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statue, to be valid, must be in agreement.
    It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows: The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of the law, is, in reality, no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
    An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
    “Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it superseded thereby. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” – 16 American Jurisprudence 2d, Sec. 177
    “No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it. The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, whether federal or state, though having the form and name of the law, is, in reality, no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.”

    Those that trade liberty for “PERCEIVED security” deserve neither.

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    – Thomas Jefferson…IT’S TIME!

    1. Marbury v Madison was 1803 and affirmed the power of judicial review as applied to the Secretary of State’s obligation to deliver an appointment certificate, but declined to force the question.

      Ex parte Milligan did say that the president could not exercise martial law if the civil courts were still open.

      A subsequent decision called the Prize Cases on the other hand did say that Lincoln could make war to defend the country without a Congressional declaration.

  7. We can all thank Roberts also for that abortion of a “too big to read, we need to pass this healthcare act to know what’s in it”, crammed down the throats of the American people by that comie-pinko Pelosi. Roberts is nothing short of a sell out, and the blood of the American people’s lives he ruined and disrupted, is on his hands.

  8. “And the Order exempts or treats more leniently only dissimilar activities, such as operating grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.”

    Is Roberts really that STUPID ??? Has he never been in a WalMart or a Target ?? There are a couple hundred people in them at any given time and you’re really lucky if you can get outta there in one hour.

  9. Chief Justice needs to be removed from the Bench. It is obvious that he is either ignorant of the Constitution or just does not give a damn about it. In either case, he is unfit to be a judge on any court. NO Governor, NO Mayor, NO Judge, NOT even the Chief Justice has the right or power to limit or restrict any church’s form of service or who or how many may attend. If I were there, I would get as many Christians into that church as I could, and if the authorities tried to force us out, I would show them what real Christian Crusaders were.

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