Much has been made of a recent case here in Louisiana where a pastor challenged our Governor's Covid-related restrictions on church capacity. On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and the Governor is touting it as a victory for his restrictions on capacity.
I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that the reason the Court declined to hear the case is that they decided a remarkably similar one on Wednesday. We talked about it then.. And, they were quite clear that the Free Expression clause in the First Amendment takes precedent over Covid restrictions.
On this rainy, thunder-y Sunday morning, I re-read Mr. Justice Gorsuch's opinion, and it is quite clear. He concludes thus:
It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.
I note that in the latest order from our petty tyrant, he left the churches alone. Capacity restrictions at churches are set at 75% but many other venues are set at much more restrictive percentages. OUr Governor knows that the Free Expression clause supersedes his executive powers and that the New York case binds his hands. The Court has ruled, and he knows it.
His trumpeting that the Louisiana case was denied is a hollow reed. He knows where the Court stands, and it is not with petty tyrant governors.