Supreme Court upholds discriminatory restrictions against Nevada churches

Chief Justice John Roberts just did it again.

Roberts sided with his liberal Supreme Court colleagues this week to allow what the four conservative justices argued is a clear instance of discrimination against churches in Nevada. 

The case

The case revolves around another one of these coronavirus orders that impose limits on the size of gatherings, the Washington Examiner reported.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) of Nevada enacted an order that only allowed church gatherings of up to 50 people. On the other hand, he set the limit for casinos, restaurants, and other businesses, at 50 percent of maximum capacity — in other words, a lot more than 50 people.

Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, a church located in Dayton, Nevada, challenged Sisolak’s order, arguing that it is unconstitutional in that it discriminates against those trying to exercise their religion.

It certainly seems like a pretty clear cut case of discrimination. But, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court disagreed.

That makes no sense

Robert, as stated, joined with his liberal colleagues, while the other conservative justices — Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch — all dissented.

“Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion.” Alito wrote in his dissent. “That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this Court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing. We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility.”

Thomas and Kavanaugh joined Alito in his dissent, while Gorsuch wrote his own. “In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion,” Gorsuch wrote.

“The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges,” he continued. “But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

Deja vu

With the conservatives on the bench stating their piece, the Supreme Court decision stands, as does the discrimination against Nevada churches. It would be more surprising if this was the first time this has happened, but it isn’t.

Back in May, Roberts, once again, joined his liberal colleagues in a case just like this one, upholding a discriminatory limitation placed on gatherings in California churches. So much for our Constitution and the right to religious exercise that our founders so carefully sought to protect.

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