CA Churches File for Injunction After SCOTUS Ruling

Dec 4, 2020

Today, Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry filed a renewed motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to the federal district court of California regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional orders. This is after the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert, vacated the lower court orders involving the emergency petition of the churches, and directed the district court to reconsider in light of the High Court’s decision in granting an injunction for churches and synagogues in New York. 

Though both the district court and the Ninth Circuit have previously denied the churches’ requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, and for injunctions pending appeal, the Supreme Court has now vacated all of those previous denials and instructed this court to reconsider its previous rulings in light of the High Court’s decision on behalf of New York City synagogues and Roman Catholic churches in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo and Agudath Israel v. Cuomo. In a 5-4 opinion the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “very severe” limitations on church attendance in the state’s COVID red and orange zones violate the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and are not the least restrictive means of preventing infections. 

However, the restrictions against places of worship in California are more severe than those in New York. Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders ban ALL in-person worship for 99.1 percent of Californians.

Harvest Rock Church has multiple campuses in California, including in Pasadena, Los Angeles, Irvine and Corona. Harvest International Ministries has 162 member churches throughout the state. Irreparable harm is being suffered every day as the churches remain subject to the unconstitutional restrictions, coupled with daily criminal threats, fines, and closure. 

The Code Enforcement Division for the City of Pasadena and the Criminal Prosecutor have threatened criminal charges, fines, and closure for being open for worship against the governor’s orders and local health orders. The letters threaten up to one year in prison, daily criminal charges and $1,000 fines against the pastors, staff, and parishioners. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The ruling by the Supreme Court on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry provides great relief for churches and places of worship. The High Court has vacated the rulings of the lower courts and strongly encouraged the district court to make its decision based on the New York ruling. The final days of Governor Gavin Newsom’s ‘color-coded executive edicts’ banning worship are numbered and coming to an end.” 

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