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What the Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Opinion Means for Church Gatherings

A deeply divided Court rejected one California church’s request to restore in-person services sooner than the state governor ordered.

What the Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Opinion Means for Church Gatherings
Image: Richard Sharrocks | Getty Images

On May 29, 2020, the US Supreme Court delivered an opinion of the case South Bay United Pentecostal Church et al. v. Newsom. The following article explores the background leading up to the opinion, an analysis of the opinion, and what it might mean for churches nationwide.

Background

On March 4, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency as a result of the threat posed by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Two weeks later, on March 19, 2020, the governor issued Executive Order N-33-20, which required “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”

Executive Order N-33-20 gave some Californians the right to leave their residences, including clergy who were holding services “through streaming or other technologies ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • June 1, 2020

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