(July 27) Five members of the U.S. Supreme Court have shuffled the Constitution’s principles beyond recognition.

On July 25, the court’s five liberals — counting Chief Justice John Roberts, who has gone almost entirely native in liberal Washington — effectively ruled that casinos can be given less restrictive coronavirus-related mandates than those imposed on churches. The Nevada rule disfavoring churches is a mind-boggling assault on the free exercise of religion.

As is often the case with such emergency petitions, the court majority offered no explanation for its dismissal of a church’s appeal of Nevada’s rule. The court’s four conservatives, however, rightly excoriated their liberal brethren.

Nevada’s rule is particularly irrational. It restricts church services to no more than 50 people on site no matter how large the facility they are using is. Meanwhile, it allows casinos to operate at up to 50% of normal capacity, meaning in some cases that thousands of people can be indoors at the same site.

“The First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch. “There is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh also wrote excellent, longer dissents (Clarence Thomas joined Alito’s), but Gorsuch was correct in pithily observing that “this is a simple case.” It should have been simple, but the liberals got it sickeningly wrong….

For years, left-leaning jurists have exhibited hostility toward free exercise of religion, but Roberts until this year did not join them. Except in a very few cases, though, ones where he could secure support from at least one other liberal, Roberts in the past year has completed his shift leftward, becoming the centermost liberal justice rather than in any real way even a moderate conservative.

This case is his worst ruling of all because the discrimination against religion here is so blatant….

[The full column is at this link.]

 

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