SCOTUS Rules in South Bay v Newsom II: Read It For Yourself

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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25 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    People will die but they will own the libs and that seems worth it for too many people.

    And you know what? I think there are people out there who are probably too risk-avoidant and seem to be treating the pandemic like it is more extreme radioactive fallout where merely going into public is going to cause you to die. There are a lot of places that still do the hygiene theater of cleaning everything because of early concerns over surface spread which were largely wrong. I roll my eyes at this.

    But people speaking/singing in close contact indoors is the thing that does spread COVID and there are lots of stories where people died from COVID because of a choir concert or because they came into contact with someone who went to a wedding where precautions were not followed. But we have decided that the Constitution is a suicide pact apparently.

    We seem to be caught in a loop where a certain amount of the population thinks you can dickwave away a pandemic and another part reacts by going into further lockdown. They just feed off each other.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      And you alone have figured out the perfect balance of risk mitigation strategies? COOL!Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s okay! My circumstances are extraordinary!Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Think of religion as a business. Why was religion singled out for more restrictive rules than were handed to other businesses? Why are casinos allowed to function if it’s important enough to shut down churches?

      A cynic might think the gov is picking and choosing industries which gave it money rather than doing anything for some abstract public good.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        I believe the gov’t pointed out the difference was the singing of hymns, which is a known source of spread.

        I have to think the church’s motivation, at least in part, was the hit it was taking on collections. My church has met only intermittently since last March, but we have a robust electronic giving system, so contributions have hardly fallen off. Not every church has that.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Slade the Leveller
          Ignored
          says:

          If we decide singing should be banned (as opposed to just limiting it to just one person), it’s weird that we’re not including the entertainment industry (or say, casino singing).

          I’m cool with general rules (no singing). However we’re not looking at general rules, we’re looking at singling out churches for rules the State doesn’t apply to other industries.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            The difference, I presume, is sining from a stage that can be distanced from the audience vs. the audience all singing together.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            “I’m cool with general rules (no singing). However we’re not looking at general rules, we’re looking at singling out churches for rules the State doesn’t apply to other industries.”

            Dark, I have a hard time believing that you don’t see the general rule in play here. Honestly, it strikes me as willful on your part. Your larger point isn’t undermined by conceding it.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Dark, I have a hard time believing that you don’t see the general rule in play here.

              The reason I can’t see the “general rule” here is we don’t have a general rule. We have a number of highly targeted guild-lines that are only targeting churches.

              It makes sense, a LOT of sense, to ban groups of people singing without masks. That’s not what happened.

              The industries which got exceptions or who were not subject to these rules to start with are not Constitutionally protected activities.Report

          • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            I looked to see if there are any concert listings in CA, and, indeed, there are. Kind of befuddling. As far as the shows you see in casinos, you won’t catch me at one of those retread demos.

            And, if I read the order correctly, the prohibition on singing during worship was upheld. I don’t know how that will be enforced.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Slade the Leveller
              Ignored
              says:

              Yeah there’s that. This was a political signaling decision that the conservative justices still support “religious liberty.” It will surly result in increased death, but hey, believers aren’t supposed to be afraid of death so …Report

  2. InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    State officials are bringing these decisions on themselves. The lesson with these orders seems to be that they will hold as long as the authorities don’t swiss cheese them up with seemingly arbitrary and very apparent inconsistencies. But that would be difficult as it would mean taking a hard line against constituencies they’d rather spare. It exposes their own underlying unseriousness about the situation and I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      Cynicism about the reasoning behind certain (or perhaps all) covid protocols is easy given the obvious arbitrariness of application, but I cut state leaders some slack by remembering that even a good-faith actor is balancing a whole slew of conflicting, often irreconcilable, variables and priorities in the form of imposed restrictions. Judgments will inherently be political, and focus on instances of over-reach. That said, Newsome and Californian mayors have made some pretty massive mistakes in their policy roll-outs (as have politicians in other states). And part of the reason for that (seems to me) is that there is no consensus among so-called “experts” on what constitutes appropriate lock-down policy. And that lack of consensus, in turn, derives from the fact that epidemiologists aren’t public policy experts, they’re infectious disease experts.Report

      • InMD in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        My finger-pointing on this subject starts with the Trump administration for punting leadership to the states (then politicizing questions of severity, playing them off each other for partisan reasons, etc.). But I also don’t think it’s too much to ask that state and local leaders remember we have a 1st Amendment. Any rule specifically applying to houses of worship was going to run into issues in the courts under well established case law and could have been pretty easily dodged IMO by treating all public accommodations the same. Yes, that would have made it a bit harder to carve out favored industries but I think doing so (or rather not doing so) is actually better policy anyway.

        Remember, all SCOTUS has done in these cases is put some limits on the ability to single out houses of worship and allowed stays while litigation of certain questions moves forward. IMO it was quite predictable, and not just because of who has appointed the justices.Report

        • PHilip H in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          Given all of California’s other rules for mitigating pandemics, I don’t see houses of worship as being singled out. And as has been noted above, there are in fact many ways to deliver the Gospel to believers that don’t necessitate or involve actually congregation in a single place.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      Argument A: “The rules create arbitrary and confusing exceptions!”
      Argument B: “The general rule doesn’t allow an exemption for my unique circumstances!”

      Alternate as needed to reach the desired outcome.Report

      • InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Hey, count me as a believer in a firm, no exceptions response to covid. I see pandemic as one of the handfuls of situations where the state is most justified in taking heavy-handed action. That is not what is going on here with the picking and choosing. And when we pick and choose we can expect those interests expressly protected in the constitution to get extra consideration in the courts, rightly so.Report

  3. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    My only takeaway is to note the attitude of depraved indifference the churches have towards their own congregants.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Many, many congregations have a very compassionate approach, and have steadfastly refused to open, even when their (usually) red state governors encourage them to. Sure, their technological approach has not always been smooth and flawless (way less Joel Olestein and way more Wayne’s World) but I suspect God is not concerned about that.Report

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