Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley church located outside of Reno recently lost its case before the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in its request to be allowed to operate under the same Covid-19 reopening rules as Las Vegas casinos.
Under Nevada’s Covid-19 regulations, casinos and businesses are allowed to operate at 50% capacity as long as they practice proper social distancing. However, churches are discriminated against and limited to a maximum of 50 people, no matter the building’s capacity.
In its case, Calvary Chapel was requesting the church limit be increased to 90 people from 50, but the Supreme Court ruled against the church.
The Blaze reported on the judges who disagreed with the Supreme Court’s final ruling.
Justice Samuel Alito’s dissenting opinion:
“That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this Court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing.
“We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility. The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. It says nothing about freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine or to engage in any other game of chance.
“A public health emergency does not give governors and other public officials carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists. The idea that allowing Calvary Chapel to admit 90 worshipers present a greater public health risk than allowing casinos to operate at 50% capacity is hard to swallow.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh added:
“The state has not explained why a 50% occupancy cap is good enough for secular businesses where people congregate in large groups or remain in close proximity for extended periods — such at restaurants, bars, casinos and gyms — but is not good enough for places of worship.”