Federal Judge Rules In Favor Of NC Churches, Saying “There Is No Pandemic Exception To The Constitution”

We already know that multiple North Carolina Sheriff’s departments have said they would not enforce the governor’s restrictions against inside worship, because they don’t see much difference between some worshipers meeting from hundreds of people going to Home Depot. Or all the people in the grocery store. People get way too close while riding their bikes on the greenways (via Sister Toldjah)

Federal judge says ‘There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution’

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders that restrict church worship in North Carolina. A group founded by pastors and churches sued Cooper over his executive orders alleging they violate the U.S. and N.C. constitutions.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever heard arguments on Friday from a group of plaintiffs who challenged Cooper’s authority to restrict religious activities. Saturday, the judge said the plaintiffs are “likely to succeed on the merits of their Free Exercise claim concerning the assembly for religious worship provisions in Executive Order 138, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order, that the equities tip in their favor, and that a temporary restraining order is in the public interest.”

The judge said unequivocally that “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution of the United States or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” (snip)

In his ruling, Judge Dever said that the restrictions placed on religious groups “represent precisely the sort of ‘subtle departures from neutrality” that the Free Exercise Clause is designed to prevent.”

Exactly. Now, I understand why many governors, county executives, and mayors did what they did: they were scared and concerned (and some were power mad). Cooper has mostly been reasonable, but, it’s time to allow people to live their lives. It would have been better had he requested that churches do their best to social distance and have service outside and such, getting the folks leading the churches behind him (same with mosques and synagogues and such). But, remember, everything was rushed at all levels. That said, after the initial rush there was time to consider and discuss. That did not happen. Hence, lawsuits.

Dever also scrutinized Cooper’s statement that inside worship would only be allowed if outside services were “impossible” and that county sheriff’s and local police would enforce the provisions. “A leader of a religious entity or a worshiper, under pain of criminal prosecution for a Class 2 misdemeanor, has to answer to a sheriff or other local law enforcement officer whether it is ”impossible’ to worship outside. Who could answer that question, ‘Yes. It is impossible.’?” asked Dever. “After all, in the overwhelming majority of cases, members of a religious entity would have gathered to worship from somewhere else.”

The judge said there were “glaring inconsistencies between the treatment of religious entities and individuals” and that “the Governor’s counsel conceded that there is no public health rationale for allowing 50 people to gather inside at a funeral, but to limit an indoor religious worship service to no more than 10 people.”

Dever said he did not doubt that Gov. Cooper desired to protect North Carolinians and that it did not ”make a difference that faith-based bigotry did not motivate” the governor’s actions. “The Constitution makes the bar higher than that,” said Dever. “A law is not neutral and generally applicable unless there is neutrality between religion and non-religion.”

One thing that bothers me about this ruling and many others is that they all seem to forget that each state has its own Constitution with a section on Rights, because, originally, the Bill Of Rights applied to the Federal government, with amendments 9 and 10 leaving everything not mentioned to the states and citizens. The NC Constitution is very clear on religion (section 13) “All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.” That couldn’t more clear, eh?

Dever did also admonish worshipers to observe social distancing and other protocols. If they are smart, they will. Further, the judge was wise in not slamming Governor Cooper, and even praising him. That’s the best way to get cooperation, right? Even when you don’t necessarily need it. Hence

This kind of ruling will potentially lead to similar rulings in other states, especially the more restrictive ones.

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One Response to “Federal Judge Rules In Favor Of NC Churches, Saying “There Is No Pandemic Exception To The Constitution””

  1. Kye says:

    There’s also no exception to being secure in our possessions, not having our property taken away, being deprived of a living, no freedom of assembly nor RKBA. The fascist Democommies have overstepped, should be brought up on civil rights charges.

    How corrupt is the Fake News Media? This is how leftists lie on the fake news that Dr Elwood and his sheeple believe when they see it:


    Trump 2020 The Constitution has not been repealed as the Dems want you to believe.

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