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