Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress, but they were quickly reminded this month who holds the power in the U.S. Supreme Court and a recent decision favoring religious freedom has a number of Democrats hopping mad.
According to the Washington Examiner, on the heels of a high court decision earlier this month that ruled in favor of California churches being allowed to open at 25 percent capacity, a number of House Democrats, like Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), criticized the ruling, suggesting that it “created a mess” in the state.
At the crux of the issue is that the ruling came about through the Supreme Court’s “shadow docket,” which are cases that are heard and ruled on which result in short, sometimes unsigned orders that provide no explanation as to why the justices made the ruling.
The House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on the “shadow docket” process and criticized the high court for using it on subjects like religious freedom, which they claim deserve a greater explanation, especially because of the effect that the most recent decision on church openings has on the state’s COVID-19 restriction protocols.
“The order provides no consensus on what animated the court’s conclusion,” said Washington, D.C. Solicitor General Loren AliKhan, who sided with Democrats on the matter at the recent hearing. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) also suggested that the ruling on this particular case deserved more explanation.
The SCOTUS ruling on church re-openings during the COVID-19 pandemic came in response to cases filed by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista and Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, as the Washington Examiner reported earlier.
This isn’t the first time during the pandemic that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of churches reopening with limited capacity. Ever since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the court by former President Donald Trump, churches in multiple states, including New Jersey, New York and California, have had luck in obtaining favorable rulings.
Many in the church community have argued that as long as Walmarts, grocery stores and strip clubs remain open, there’s no valid reason why Americans would not be allowed to practice their faith, in-person, at their local church.