The Supreme Court has ruled that state officials can limit in-person church gatherings during the pandemic. The 5-4 decision saw Chief Justice John Roberts joining forces with the court’s liberal wing.
The South Bay United Pentecostal Church of Chula Vista in California had argued that state-imposed limits to church attendance had been unfair given that secular institutions like supermarkets and factories were not subject to the same, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In his opinion, Roberts said the matter was best left to politicians on the ground whose decisions could be evaluated by the voters.
“The precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement,” Roberts wrote.
He added that state officials “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.”
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