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Divided court blocks California’s COVID-related restrictions on in-home religious gatherings

EMERGENCY DOCKET By Amy Howe on Apr 10, 2021 at 1:30 am A divided Supreme Court on Friday night granted a request by a California pastor to put COVID-related restrictions on in-home Bible study and prayer meetings on hold. The ruling, issued just before midnight, was the most recent in a series of challenges, dating […]

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Court clears way for indoor worship services in northern California

EMERGENCY DOCKET By Amy Howe on Feb 26, 2021 at 9:17 pm In the latest of a line of challenges to restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court ordered a California county to allow churches to hold indoor worship services. In a brief order on Friday night, the justices granted a request to […]

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Court won’t allow Alabama execution without a pastor

By Amy Howe on Feb 12, 2021 at 2:35 am The court issued its ruling on Alabama’s attempt to execute Willie Smith III at midnight on Thursday. (Katie Barlow) The Supreme Court on Thursday night ruled that the execution of an Alabama man must remain on hold unless the state allows the man, Willie Smith […]

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Counting votes in the South Bay decision

SCOTUS Focus By Tom Goldstein on Feb 9, 2021 at 1:30 pm Late last Friday night, the Supreme Court granted an application for an injunction in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom. In sum and substance, the court: (1) enjoined California from enforcing a ban on indoor worship, (2) did not enter an injunction […]

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Divided court allows indoor worship services to resume in California

SCOTUS NEWS By Amy Howe on Feb 6, 2021 at 2:52 am The court handed down its ruling on California’s COVID-related worship restrictions at around 11 p.m. on Friday night. (Katie Barlow) More than eight months after the Supreme Court declined to intervene in a California church’s challenge to the state’s stay-at-home orders issued as […]

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Justices grant FDA request to block mail delivery of abortion pills

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a request from the Food and Drug Administration to reinstate a federal requirement that a pill used to induce abortion in the early stages of pregnancy be picked up in person from a health care provider. A federal district judge had suspended that requirement last summer because of the […]

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On the Supreme Court’s shadow docket, the steady volume of pandemic cases continues

As the Supreme Court winds down for the holiday break, one thing that has not slowed is the flow of litigation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. In November and December, the court handled seven emergency requests for relief related to COVID-19, six involving challenges by religious institutions to state crowd-restriction orders and one involving exposure […]

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Citing imminent expiration, justices reject Christian school’s request for exemption from Kentucky’s in-person school closures

The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a request from a Christian school in Kentucky and the state’s attorney general to allow in-person classes at faith-based schools, stressing that most schools in Kentucky will close for the winter holidays on Friday, Dec. 18, and are slated to reopen on Jan. 4. The justices left open […]

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Justices revive religious groups’ attempts to block COVID-related restrictions in Colorado, New Jersey

Posted Tue, December 15th, 2020 3:21 pm by Amy Howe The Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed out a pair of lower-court rulings that had permitted states to enforce COVID-related restrictions at worship services. The two brief orders from the justices instruct the lower courts to take another look at religious groups’ challenges to restrictions in […]

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Justices tell lower court to take another look at California COVID-19 restrictions on indoor worship

Posted Thu, December 3rd, 2020 12:53 pm by Amy Howe Last week the Supreme Court granted requests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues to lift New York’s coronavirus-related attendance limits on worship services. The broader impact of that ruling became even more apparent on Thursday morning, when the justices ordered a […]