* Fox News…
An Illinois church has filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court, challenging Gov. Jay Pritzker’s closure of houses of worship during the coronavirus crisis a day after another congregation in California made a similar move.
The case will be handled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, based on geography, and he has asked the opposing state officials to respond by Thursday evening, just as Justice Elena Kagan asked of the California church that filed an emergency request on Tuesday.
Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and the Logos Baptist Ministries filed the emergency order citing precedent in a 1947 Supreme Court case “Everson v. Board of Education.” In that case, the Court wrote that “Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church… Neither can force nor influence a person to go or remain away from a church against his will.” […]
Both Kagan and Kavanaugh alone can decide these cases, or refer them to the full court.
* From the church’s request…
Three decisions,from the Fifth and Sixth Circuits,have enjoined such orders as unconstitutional, see First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springsv. City of Holly Springs, Mississippi, No. 20-60399, 2020 WL 2616687 (5th Cir. May 22, 2020); Roberts v. Neace, No. 20-5465, 2020 WL 2316679 (6th Cir. May 9, 2020); Maryville Baptist Church, Inc. v. Beshear, No. 20-5427, 2020 WL 2111316 (6th Cir. May 2, 2020), and two decisions,from the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have denied injunctive relief, see Order, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church v. Pritzker, No. 20-1811 (7th Cir. May 16, 2020) (“Circuit IPA Order,” attached hereto as Exhibit A); South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, No. 20-55533, 2020 WL 2687079 (9th Cir. May 22, 2020).1Thesedecisions also differ as to whether such orders trigger strict scrutiny under Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah,508 U.S. 520 (1993), and Emp’t Div. v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). These contradictory decisions demonstrate serious confusion exists within the federal courts as to the correct constitutional standards to apply to emergency executive orders restricting religious worship. Thus,this application presents important questions of federal law which have divided the circuits and should be settled by this Court.
*** UPDATE *** With a big hat tip to a commenter…
As southern Illinois prepares for Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, COVID-19 cases in Jackson County are on the rise.
Bart Hagston, administrator of the Jackson county health department, said most of the cases are connected to a local church that has been holding in-person services in defiance of public health orders.
“We have seen an uptick in the number of cases over the last several days. Most of those cases are tied to an outbreak associated with a church in Jackson County,” he said.
The name of the church is not being released to the public.