California churches are celebrating after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Santa Clara County to allow indoor worship services amid a pending appeal over COVID restrictions.
Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which represents the five churches, announced Saturday that the high court granted injunctive relief while they await a decision on their petition from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
BIG WIN! In a 6-3 decision, the high court overruled California's Ninth Circuit and sided with churches against Santa Clara County’s public health orders which ban indoor church services. Thank you for your prayers and support as we fought hard to win this case. pic.twitter.com/ahur15BkGD
— Pacific Justice Ins. (@PacificJustice) February 27, 2021
The 6-3 ruling came late Friday with the court's liberal justices in dissent.
"My clients - the churches - are grateful to be able to open their doors again this Sunday after having been locked for most of the last 12 months," said PJI Attorney Kevin Snider. "As this litigation continues, we are cautiously optimistic that those doors will not be barred again by overreaching government officials."
The churches include Gateway City Church, The Spectrum Church, The Home Church, Orchard Community Church, and Trinity Bible Church.
A lawsuit was filed against Santa Clara County earlier this month after the district continued to prohibit indoor services despite an earlier Supreme Court ruling that Gov. Newsom's ban violated the First Amendment, according to Mercury News.
After the high court's ruling, Santa Clara County said indoor worship services were permitted at 20 percent capacity but other indoor gatherings are restricted for now.
"The Ninth Circuit's failure to grant relief was erroneous," the Supreme Court's order reads. "This outcome is clearly dictated by this Court's decision in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom."
#SCOTUS grants emergency request from northern California churches to allow indoor worship services pending appeal, says result is "clearly dictated" by recent decision. Kagan dissents, joined by Breyer & Sotomayor: https://t.co/0uYDv4R4Jn
— Amy Howe (@AHoweBlogger) February 27, 2021