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Tom Kirkman

U.S. DOJ to California Governor: “Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights”

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U.S. Department of Justice warns California governor over pandemic church closings

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday warned California’s governor that his COVID-19 restrictions discriminated against places of worship by preventing them from meeting while businesses and film studios are allowed to carry on working.

In a three-page letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, the DOJ said the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution required churches and other houses of worship be given equal treatment under the law, even when a health emergency has been declared.

“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband wrote in the letter.

A spokesman for Newsom, asked for comment, said only that the governor’s office had received the DOJ letter.  ...


... “California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden, regardless of whether remote worship is practical or not,” the DOJ said in its letter to Newsom.


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