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Places of worship have had to figure out protocols that adhere to social distancing and state restrictions. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rejected a request from a Nevada church to block enforcement of state restrictions on attendance at religious services.

The big picture: Restrictions on places of worship to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus have become politically divisive. Churches across the U.S. have been challenging state restrictions in court.

  • Chief Justice John Roberts ruled with the court’s four liberal members to make a majority.

The state of play: Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in Nevada argued that the state treated houses of worship more harshly than the state's casinos, restaurants and amusement parks.

  • Capacity in those businesses was cut by 50% based on fire-code capacities, unlike congregations that had to adhere to a 50-person limit.

The other side: “A public health emergency does not give governors and other public officials carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote.

Flashback: The court considered a similar objection from a California church in May, but also rejected the case by the same 5-to-4 vote.

Go deeper: God and COVID-19

Go deeper

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Trump suggests he may fire Fauci if re-elected president

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and President Trump during a March briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump responded early Monday to chants from the crowd at his Florida campaign rally to fire NIAID director Anthony Fauci by saying, "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election."

Why it matters: Trump's remarks at the Opa-locka rally come less than 48 hours before polls close and a day after the White House slammed Fauci for telling the Washington Post the U.S. "could not possibly be positioned more poorly" in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump adviser Scott Atlas apologizes for appearing on RT

Scott Atlas, member of the White House's coronavirus task force. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President Trump's favorite coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas apologized on Twitter for appearing Saturday on Russia’s state-controlled RT network, where he insisted that the U.S. is turning the corner on the pandemic and that lockdowns are actually “killing people.”

Why it matters: RT, formerly known as Russia Today, is a Russian state-owned media outlet registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This means that all of its content is labeled as propaganda attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy and laws.