By Colin Dwyer
The Supreme Court has rejected a California church’s attempt to overturn the state’s coronavirus restrictions on in-person religious services.
In a 5-4 decision issued late Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal bloc in upholding the state’s right to impose limits on congregations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts said, in an opinion that denied a request by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church for relief from the rules.
The Chula Vista-based house of worship sued Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, over an order limiting congregations to 25% capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower. The plaintiffs told the court its services typically attract 200 to 300 congregants.
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