Opinion | The Supreme Court, Too, Is on the Brink – By Linda Greenhouse – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Christopher Lee for The New York Times

“The Supreme Court made the indisputably right call last week when it refused to block California from limiting attendance at religious services in an effort to control the spread of Covid-19.

A Southern California church, represented by a Chicago-based organization, the Thomas More Society, which most often defends anti-abortion activists, had sought the justices’ intervention with the argument that by limiting worshipers to the lesser of 25 percent of building capacity or 100 people, while setting a 50 percent occupancy cap on retail stores, California was discriminating against religion in violation of the Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause.

Given the obvious difference between walking through a store and sitting among fellow worshipers for an hour or more, as well as the documented spread of the virus through church attendance in such places as Sacramento (71 cases), Seattle (32 cases) and South Korea (over 5,000 cases traced to one person at a religious service), California’s limits are both sensitive and sensible, hardly the basis for constitutional outrage or judicial second-guessing.

So why did the court’s order, issued as midnight approached on Friday night, fill me with dread rather than relief?”

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