Supreme Court orders states to respond to churches’ appeals to reopen

The Supreme Court is ordering the governors of Illinois and California to respond to two separate appeals filed by churches seeking to block enforcement of stay-at-home orders. Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Elena Kagan, who respond to circuit court appeals from the Midwest and the West Coast, respectively, say the responses are due by Thursday evening. In Illinois, two Chicago-area churches also requested that the justices allow them to hold services on Pentecost. Two Romanian-American Christian churches said Illinois’ reopening plan violates the U.S. Constitution by imposing a 10-person limit on worship services, while allowing other “essential” services — such as hardware and liquor stores — to continue without such restrictions. Meanwhile, the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Southern California appealed to the Supreme Court over the weekend after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected its request to hold services. Attorneys for the church say orders from California Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Diego County authorities are unconstitutional because they discriminate against places of worship.

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