On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States set in motion what may end up being a momentous couple of non-decisions on religious freedom in the time of the Chinese coronavirus, as Streiff wrote:
Yesterday, the Supreme Court kicked two decisions by Obama-appointed judges back for “reconsideration” in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. New York. At issue were decisions originating in New Jersey (that would be the state where the governor dines in close quarters in a restaurant while he sends out the Staats Polizei to break up Jewish funerals) and Colorado, which have established “public health emergency” rules that make it easier to shop at Costco or buy liquor than to attend worship.
There were more details on what SCOTUS handing these back to the lower courts signified, in the court-centric blog he cited:
…[T]he justices indicated…the lower courts should decide the challenges in light of the Supreme Court’s Nov. 25 ruling that lifted New York’s COVID-related limits on attendance at worship services.
As Streiff summed things up,
On the whole, this was a solid victory for the proposition that attending church is not inferior to other forms of activity and the reversal of the anti-freedom direction in which Roberts was steering the court since the first cases challenging the virtual outlawing of religious gatherings bubbled up this past summer.
Now, a press release from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has announced Saturday that, yeah, people must be allowed to attend church — whether indoors or outdoors.
The LAist reports:
Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health announced today that it would change its health order to reflect recent Supreme Court rulings against state attempts to limit indoor worship services because of the coronavirus.
In a news release issued Saturday afternoon, the department said that places of worship can have both indoor and outdoor services “with mandatory physical distancing and face coverings over both the nose and mouth that must be worn at all times while on site
It continues with the L.A. health officials’ unsolicited opinion on our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights:
Worship services and protests are constitutionally-protected and have legally continued through the pandemic, but public health officials say they should take place outdoors.
Today the department reiterated that it “strongly recommends that places of worship continue to hold services outdoors.”
In another by-product of wrongheadedness by (likely) these same, public health officials, news broke late Saturday night that the iconic Rose Bowl would not be held in Pasadena…nor anywhere in the Golden State this year. It’s instead moving east to Texas.
With local and regional health statutes preventing fans from being in attendance, the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl has been moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The move, announced Saturday evening by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, is a result of a “growing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern California along with the inability to host player and coach guests at any game in California.”
The semifinal will still be played on Jan. 1, two days after the Cotton Bowl, but it’s unclear whether it will still be called the “Rose Bowl”. Unlike other college football postseason games, the Rose Bowl is a part of the Master License Agreement and co-owned by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena.
The only time the Rose Bowl hasn’t been held in Pasadena? After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor:
….[I]t will be the first time it has not been played in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl Stadium since January 1942 on the heels of the Pearl Harbor attack.
In this case, the war going on is on our rights as free people in a free nation. Hopefully, the Supreme Court’s actions will open up more avenues to return those rights across the country, as we speed ever closer to Christmas Day this coming Friday.