Harvest Rock Inc. v. Newsom
Harvest Rock Inc. v. Newsom (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, October 1, 2020): The Ninth Circuit declined to enjoin enforcement of California Governor Newsom’s executive orders restricting in-person worship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the district court declined to stop Governor Newsom’s orders. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit found that the challenging church was unlikely to succeed on its argument that the district court abused its discretion. The appellate court reasoned that the orders had applied the same restrictions to worship services as to other indoor events, and the church failed to rebut the Governor’s expert declaration that the risk of COVID-19 is elevated in indoor congregate activities. The church also failed to demonstrate that remaining open contrary to the Governor’s orders was in the public’s interest. Read the full opinion here.