A sharply divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected a challenge to California’s limits on large church gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, dismissing an appeal brought by a San Diego-area church that argued state rules infringed on its religious freedom.
The justices by 5-4 vote said California could enforce its rules, at least for now. Chief Justice John G. Roberts joined the court’s four liberal justices in upholding the state’s rules.
“The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement. Our Constitution principally entrusts ‘the safety and the health of the people’ to the politically accountable officials of the states ‘to guard and protect,’” Roberts wrote.