Professor Barry McDonald Quoted in "Why L.A. County Paid $400,000 to a Church that Violated Coronavirus Rules" -- Los Angeles Times
Professor Barry P. McDonald is quoted in the Los Angeles Times article, "Why L.A. County Paid $400,000 to a Church that Violated Coronavirus Rules." The article considers Supreme Court rulings on public health restrictions on houses of worship.
Excerpt from "Why L.A. County Paid $400,000 to a Church that Violated Coronavirus Rules"
The change in the legal landscape was set in motion abruptly by the death of the Supreme Court's liberal lion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, last September, legal experts said.
Four months earlier, the court had rejected a Chula Vista church's challenge to California's indoor worship restrictions.
County attorneys reasonably anticipated that the court would continue along those lines, said Barry P. McDonald, a professor at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law.
But after Ginsburg's death and the appointment of ultra-conservative Amy Coney Barrett, the court went in a different direction.
In February, after Barrett joined, the court lifted California's ban on indoor religious services, while allowing capacity restrictions as well as restrictions on singing and chanting.
Two months later, in Tandon vs. Newsom, the court ruled that California could not prevent people from gathering in homes for Bible study and prayer meetings.
This was the fifth time the Supreme Court had rejected the lower court's analysis in a case involving California's COVID-19 restrictions on freedom of religion, the majority opinion noted.
"Even if Roberts is going to side with the three remaining liberals, now you have five very solid conservative votes in favor of religion and who are going to give the government a very strict review, and that's what's happened," McDonald said, referring to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
The tone of the court's opinion in the Chula Vista case was "very government friendly," while the Tandon ruling was "very government hostile," McDonald said.
The complete article may be found at Los Angeles Times