Church v. Polis (U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Cir., Jan. 24, 2022): Several Colorado churches challenged state-level COVID-19-related restrictions and awards of federal pandemic funding, arguing that Colorado’s restrictions violated First Amendment free exercise of religion rights, that Colorado’s emergency disaster statute unconstitutionally infringed on religious freedoms by providing secular exemptions and not religious exemptions, and that federal aid awards violated federal statutes prohibiting religious discrimination. The 10th Circuit dismissed the state-level claims, finding that because Colorado no longer imposed COVID-19 restrictions, was not likely to re-institute any pandemic restrictions, the claims were moot. The appellate court also held that Colorado’s emergency disaster statute is not facially unconstitutional because it is neutral and generally applicable. Regarding the federal aid claims, the court held that plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed because they failed to show their injuries were traceable to the federal funds or redressable by court action directing the use of those funds. Read the full decision here.
View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – March 18, 2022.