Part of our core mission?

Exposing the Left's blatant hypocrisy. Help us continue the fight and support the 2020 Year-End Campaign now.

Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 1, 2020

Roberts Fails to Uphold First Amendment Religious Rights

SCOTUS rules 5-4 against California church's challenge of Gov. Newsom's restrictions.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against San Diego’s South Bay United Pentecostal Church in its lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom’s restriction limiting places of worship to meetings no larger than 25% of a building’s capacity or no more than 100 people, whichever is less. Tellingly, Newsom has not applied these restrictions on secular venues such as supermarkets, offices, and restaurants — none of which are listed in the First Amendment. This conflict has been a theme during lockdown.

Siding with the four liberal justices against the church, Chief Justice John Roberts contended, “Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time. And the order exempts or treats more leniently only dissimilar activities, such as operating grocery stores, banks and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.” Essentially, Roberts views church services as “nonessential” activities. So much for the right to peaceably assemble and freely exercise religion.

Rejecting assertions that Newsom’s order violates Californians’ First Amendment right to religious liberty, Roberts argued a rather tortuous “states rights” rationale for refusing to challenge the constitutionality of the order — and in so doing threw the Court’s credibility under the bus. Roberts lectured, “Where those broad limits are not exceeded, they should not be subject to second-guessing by an ‘unelected federal judiciary,’ which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.” In short, Roberts both hid behind a reticence to be an “activist” and appealed to that tired trope of “trusting the experts,” as if all experts are always in unanimous agreement, in order to avoid actually addressing the issue.

Writing for the dissent, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was unequivocal: “I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses. Such discrimination violates the First Amendment. Absent a compelling justification (which the State has not offered), the State may not take a looser approach with, say, supermarkets, restaurants, factories, and offices while imposing stricter requirements on places of worship.” Kavanaugh added, “The State cannot ‘assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work or go about the rest of their daily lives in permitted social settings.”

Finally, it has become increasingly clear that Roberts can’t be counted on to be constitutionally consistent, demonstrated by his chastisement of the conservative justices’ dissenting opinion. What is the job of the judiciary if it is not to judge whether the actions of an executive or the laws passed by legislators are in conformity to the Constitution?

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2020 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.