featured graphic for Center for American Liberty. Logo courtesy of Center for American Liberty

SCOTUS sides with The Center for American Liberty in Gish v. Newsom

The Center for American Liberty (@Liberty_Ctr) in conjunction with the Dhillon Law Group, Inc. (@DhillonLaw), on behalf of churches in San Bernardino County and Riverside County represented in Gish v. Newsom, the Supreme Court of The United States ruled tonight that the denial of an injunction by both the District Court and the 9th Circuit was wrong.

The Center for American Liberty filed Gish et al. v. Newsom et al., its first lawsuit challenging California’s COVID restrictions on faith organizations in April, 2020, challenging Governor Newsom’s COVID emergency orders that defined religious institutions hosting live services as non-essential. Using a now-disfavored legal standard as its basis, a federal district court in southern California refused to enjoin the government’s sweeping clampdown on religious liberty.

The United States Supreme Court just granted certiorari in the case, vacated the trial court’s ruling, and remanded the case to the 9th Circuit with instructions to apply the court’s latest COVID ruling, in South Bay United Pentecostal Church (also a case supported by the Center for American Liberty), to the Gish case. This Supreme Court ruling, in response to the Gish plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction pending appeal to the high court, recognizes that the lower court’s ruling is inconsistent with the latest standard articulated by the court.

“California’s temples of commerce have remained open while our temples of God have been forced closed,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban), CEO of the Center for American Liberty. “This was the first lawsuit filed for religious liberty during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Center for American Liberty fought tirelessly to liberate God-fearing Californians from second class citizen status and the constant fear of fines and arrest.”

Gish v. Newsom was the first lawsuit filed challenging California’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders and the first of dozens that was filed by the Center for American Liberty.

Background on Gish v. Newsom

Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 on March 19, 2020, ordering all residents to “heed current State public health directives,” requiring all residents to stay at home. As a result, the State prohibited Californians from attending religious gatherings.

On April 13, 2020, plaintiffs filed a First Amendment lawsuit in Federal Court challenging the Governor’s Order. The following day, plaintiffs filed for a preliminary injunction seeking immediate relief. The district court denied plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.

Plaintiff Gish is a member and attends a Christian church in San Bernardino County. Plaintiff Scales is a pastor in San Bernardino County. Plaintiffs Moffatt and Wood are both pastors in Riverside County.

All plaintiffs desire to participate in religious gatherings that employ social distancing and sanitization guidelines.

The Center for American Liberty is currently leading high-profile civil liberties litigation including: Givens v. Newsom, Brach v. Newsom, Ngo v. Rose City Antifa, and South Bay Pentecostal Church v. Newsom.

This article was released by The Center for American Liberty.