‘Obvious discrimination’: Conservatives decry Supreme Court refusal to block Nev. restrictions on church gatherings

A general view of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2016.
A general view of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2016. | REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The United States Supreme Court declined on Friday evening to grant a Nevada church’s request to block state restrictions on gatherings it claimed gave preferential treatment to secular entities like casinos.

At issue was Governor Steve Sisolak’s state restrictions that limited gatherings at houses of worship to 50 people while allowing secular entities like casinos to operate at 50% capacity.

In a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the more liberal justices, the high court effectively allowed a lower court decision upholding the state restrictions to stand.

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Known as Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Steve Sisolak, the church had asked the Supreme Court to intervene earlier this month following lower court rulings against them.

In June, District Court Judge Richard Boulware II ruled against the church, arguing, in part, that the church failed to prove that it was being discriminated against.

“It is difficult to establish a pattern of selective enforcement directed toward places of worship when new, more restrictive measures have been imposed against secular activities and no similar restrictions were imposed on religious activities,” wrote Boulware.

“Plaintiff’s requested relief would require the court to engage in potentially daily or weekly decisions about public health measures that have traditionally been left to state officials and state agencies with expertise in this area.”

Here are four reactions from conservatives to the Supreme Court’s refusal to grant relief to the Nevada church, including denunciations of Chief Justice Roberts.

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