RENO, Nev. — The U.S. Supreme Court refused a rural Nevada church’s request Monday to step into a legal battle over the government’s authority to limit the size of religious gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic even after the church won an appeals court ruling last month that found Nevada’s restrictions unconstitutional.
Attorneys general from 19 other states had recently joined in support of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley east of Reno. They were urging the Supreme Court to rule on the merits of the Nevada case to help bring uniformity to various standards courts across the country have used to balance the interests of public safety and freedom of religion.
The Supreme Court rejected the church’s request for an emergency injunction last summer.
The church’s latest plea for relief was in the form of a petition for a review of the case on its merits despite the recent ruling by the 9th Circuit and ongoing litigation in district court. Such petitions are rare and their approval is even rarer, even though they require approval by only four justices.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford argued the justices should let the federal court in Reno sort out the details before taking the extraordinary step of wading into the case.
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