A North Carolina church has prevailed and can hold in-church services. A faith-based group representing several churches filed suit against North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) over his [Draconian and arbitrary] limits to the numbers who could attend church gatherings (under ten percent).
This was part of Phase I reopening, and the group says it violates both the U.S. Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution.
Judge James Dever III asked on Friday, “Why doesn’t the governor trust the leaders and members of religious entities in the same way he trusts, seemingly, everyone else?”
The restraining order prevents the governor from enforcing that order as it pertains to in-church services.
The group had challenged Cooper’s authority to issue such an order.
After arguments, Judge James C. Dever said the plaintiffs are “likely to succeed on the merits of their Free Exercise claim concerning the assembly for religious worship provisions in Executive Order 138, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order, that the equities tip in their favor, and that a temporary restraining order is in the public interest.”
The judge said unequivocally that “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution of the United States or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”
The judge did note in his ruling that church gatherers should still follow the governor’s guidelines on social distancing, which they always intended to do.
Where are the religious leaders in my state — NY?
Governor Cooper does not intend to appeal.
WHAT ABOUT THE RNC CONVENTION?
President Trump has his own problems with Governor Cooper. He believes he might be playing politics with the pandemic and trying to prevent the Republican Convention from taking place.
Trump made his comments in an interview with the Washington Examiner. In a wide-ranging interview, reporter Salena Zito asked him whether Democrats’ plan to scale back their convention would affect the GOP gathering, which is scheduled to start Aug. 24.
“No, no,” Trump replied. “We’ll have a convention. I’m a traditionalist, but we’ll have to see, like everything else, but I think we’ll be in good shape by that time. We have a great state, North Carolina, that’s been very, very good.
“Although, it’s got a Democrat governor, so we have to be a little bit careful. It’s got a Democrat governor, so we have to be a little bit careful with that because they’re playing politics. They’re playing politics, as you know, by delaying the openings. … To me that’s politics. They think it’s a bad thing for me if they delay the opening. I think it’s bad for them. And you have people protesting outside, and those people like Trump.”