About Two Hours After Bible Worship Group Seeks Emergency Injunction, California Relaxes Guidance for April 15--After Easter, of Course

This never-ending game of whac-a-mole-is a waste of time, and exhausting.

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On Tuesday, March 30, the Ninth Circuit upheld California's restrictions on indoor gathering in Tandon v. Newsom. Over the next 48 hours, the Bible Worship group frantically prepared an emergency injunction application to the Supreme Court. On Friday around 6:00 ET, the group filed that application with the Supreme Court. About two hours later, California changed the gathering guidance, effective April 15. This never-ending game of whac-a-mole is such an abject waste of everyone's time.

Does anyone believe this timing is coincidental? The government is, once again, trying to frustrate Supreme Court review. And of course, this change goes into effect after Easter.

Thanks to the PDF's metadata, I can pinpoint the exact minute when the guidance was changed. The document was created at 4:20 PM (PT), and was finalized at 4:56 PM (PT). Once again, the application was filed around 3:00 PM (PT). This change wasn't planned in advance. The government released this policy after the 9th Circuit ruled, and in response to the imminent application.

What happens next? Circuit Justice Kagan has not yet requested a response. I hope she doesn't set the due date after April 15. Giving the state two weeks would potentially moot the case. (Though I think voluntary cessation keeps it alive.) Kagan previously gave California 7 days in Gateway City Church. That number should be maintained. If Kagan gives California till Friday, April 9, to respond, the plaintiffs can file a response by Saturday. A decision on Sunday, April 11, would allow the group to worship on their Sabbath. That relief would be meaningful. And, the Court could rule well before the April 15 changeover. Of course, we saw the Court was willing to sit on the Kentucky petition in order to moot it. And we know that the Chief does not believe in the concept of voluntary cessation. The five-member majority from Roman Catholic Diocese needs to be proactive here. Issue the ruling as soon as possible. If the dissent is not yet ready, say the dissent will come later. Don't let the Court's coward caucus wiggle out of deciding this blatant violation of the First Amendment.

Going forward, there has to be some form of sanctions for government officials who consistently try to frustrate Supreme Court review. Discovery could determine what factors went into changing the policy. I'm sure Rhys Williams, the Senior Advisor on Emergency Preparedness and Management who created this document, would be happy to answer some interrogatories about how and when the government decided to modify this document in response to the stay application.

Update: Circuit Justice Kagan set the deadline for "Thursday, April 8 by 5 p.m. ET." Six days is better than seven.

NEXT: California Bible Worship Group Seeks Emergency Application from SCOTUS

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  1. I mean, is there anything wrong with a state changing its policy after being informed its policy is unconstitutional? Setting the date after Easter, sure, that's problematic, but is there anything wrong with the practice in general? After all, isnt that what states should be doing?

    In all likelihood, the guy implementing this policy wasn't hostile to religion, he just didn't care as much as he should have. So a lawsuit ensues and the state says ok I shouldn't have done that and the policy changes. I'm somewhat confused as to what exactly is the issue. The Supreme Court has "capable of repition" policies for exactly this reason if it is indeed capable of repetition.

    I find it kinda funny though that California rules are so restrictive as to extend into homes whereas I'm currently in NJ and even here we can hold limited home gatherings with no issues.

    1. Well that's the rub then isn't it. If they had the attitude that they now knew it was unconstitutional, they'd just change it.

      Instead, they put the date out just enough in the future that it screws with Easter, but the SC pendant won't rule against then in time for it to not be moot.

      A special FYTW for the holiday.

      1. 46 USC 1983?

        Easter IS the holiest day in the Christian calendar -- the timing itself is a hate crime.

        1. Did somebody make it less holy?

            1. I’d question your knowledge and understanding of Christian doctrine and if that is what you really believe. More Sean Feucht and Rob McCoy style church.

              1. Sorry, neither you nor the state gets to dictate what is (and isn't) Christian doctrine, and as to the KLC, here is a somewhat more neutral description of what happened: https://churchleaders.com/news/383023-kingdom-life-church-sean-feucht.html

                But KLC is a very different issue -- they were not following the rules that everyone else had to follow, while here others do NOT have to follow the SAME rules. That's a very big distinction -- that's why I am saying Section 1983...

                And as for Christian theology, and one of the reasons why there are outdoor sunrise services (in 28 degree weather this morning) is for one person to say "he has risen" and the rest to agree saying "he has risen indeed." And for this, you need a group.

                1. I will add that if that lobster was alive, holding her like that wasn't overly bright, while if the lobster had been boiled, eating it wasn't overly bright.

                  NEVER eat a boiled lobster that doesn't have a tightly curled up tail -- that means that the lobster was dead before being cooked and that's where you get all kinds of nasty food poisoning.

                  NB: A *baked* lobster is a different story because they are killed when you slice them open to stuff them, before baking them.

    2. The article's argument is actually even crazier than you're giving it credit for. CA didn't "learn its policy was unconstitutional." The 9th Circuit says IT WAS OK. Josh, of course, disagrees and projects SCOTUS will take his side, but the idea that a State should be "sanctioned" for changing a constitutional policy to be MORE favorable to the party that claims it is aggrieved is so nutty that you processed the procedural posture as the opposite of what it is in an effort to make this article make sense. It doesn't.

      1. If I was beating you up saw a teacher coming and aimed one final kick to flatten your packed lunch then let you go would you thank me for it like you demand the church grovel in gratitude to the state for doing as much as they could against them without getting smacked down?

        1. If only someone had ever founded a religion on the principle that people who endure hardship will receive greater rewards in the next world, then even if they were actually oppressed they wouldn't complain.

          1. Religion and politics are the same phenomenon. One places the reward in the eternal afterlife. The other at the end of the eternal 5 year plan.

            Just give me money and do what I say, now.

          2. James,
            Aren't you clever with that snark. Do you actually have something useful to say on topic?

          3. Someone clearly doesn't understand theology.

    3. "I mean, is there anything wrong with a state changing its policy after being informed its policy is unconstitutional? "

      -The state has not been informed that it is unconstitutional by the current decision. (They have by previous SCOTUS decisions) Rather the state is trying to change its policy BEFORE it reaches the SCOTUS so that they won't have a SCOTUS decision against them.

      Then they can change it to the "unconstitutional" standard, but since they mooted the previous case, there wouldn't be a case against them.

      1. If the state acknowledged it was unconstitutional, they would rescind it immediately, before it affects one of the great religious holidays.

        They took a conveniently lazy appriach to deliberately not do this, so they could signal they still had the power and, like lords, deign to not use it.

        Why how graceous of our masters.

        1. What if they violate the policy?

          If it's unconstitutional, they can't be punished -- and if they are facing punishment, their case isn't moot. I'm thinking _Lawrence v. Texas_ here.

    4. "I mean, is there anything wrong with a state changing its policy after being informed its policy is unconstitutional?"
      That is not what they are doing however. They are evading the law by avoiding the question being adjudicated.
      It is a cynical game, not a change in good conscience

    5. If they were doing that the changes would be effective immediately.

      What they are doing instead is purposely trying to deprive people of constitutional rights for as many days as they can get away with. It shows a criminal mentality.

  2. Josh:

    Unless you have any authority for the APPELLEE being sanctioned for pursing its argument, ever in the history of appellate law, perhaps your article should acknowledge just how utterly radical this article is. And that's leaving aside the added extremism of suggesting sanctions are appropriate for the APPELLEE not just defending its policy but voluntarily accommodating part of Appellant's demands.

    If that's the level to which one needs to squint to find "oppression," perhaps one is looking for oppression and unfair treatment in the wrong place.

    1. One need not squint to find oppression here. Religion is actively hated, and therefore validly oppressed, or casually ignored as a goofy lifestyle choice, and therefore unimportant.

      Ironically, in other contexts I join the mockery of it. But constitutionally, the detente agreement to deny power to officialize your religion over others', needs to be upheld.

      My terrible fellow atheists fail to realize this, and they are often on the short end of the stick when this is not upheld. Oddly, they feel the power of it when it is, confusing that agreement with validity to oppress.

      1. The contention that religion doesn't get enough special privilege in America seems silly. "Heads we win, tails you lose," or "we can discriminate against everybody, but nobody can discriminate against us," is the default position by the religious right.

        1. I agree that religion shouldn't get any special privileges, the government should get out of EVERYBODY'S face, religious or secular. We should be free enough the religious shouldn't need any special protection.

          But that's not the 1st amendment that was ratified, and is part of the Constitution.

      2. One need not squint, but one must use passive voice a lot.

        Atheists and secularists are not the same thing.

      3. Nope. There is no non-political basis for that assertion.

  3. They should talk about the 57 genders instead of the bible. Then cali would leave them alone.

  4. I haven't followed closely enough to know the present SC posture on a standard of comparison among religious activities vs. the others. Blackman's OP seems to show he expects the SC to use an abstract standard to compare pandemic impacts, and ignore any question whether religious practices may be more dangerous. Maybe the SC will do that, if a majority are as prone to a non-mathematical approach as Blackman seems to be.

    The right standard of comparison to non-religious instances is, of course, the relative likelihood of spreading contagion which characterizes each kind of activity, seen in its full social context, and reckoned with attention to mathematical evaluations of viral prevalence. If SCOTUS is not doing it that way, it is doing it wrong. Blackman is wrong.

    Take a look at the dire spike in cases which developed nationwide after September. Look at the case numbers which preceded that spike, during August and September. Those pre-spike prevalence numbers were far smaller then than the present ones are. That tells you the natural tendency of the pandemic now is more virulent than before. Decisions made now are riskier. And there is also more to lose, because the cost of progress has been high, and could be wasted.

    At today's prevalence level, it will take fewer extra generations of viral increase to get to a critical stage where one more generation becomes overwhelming. That is the way exponential contagion works. Many initial generations remain endurable. The last two or three generations become catastrophic. Absent effective controls, last winter's spike will be repeated. It will happen quicker this time, because the starting point is already closer to the catastrophic level.

    Thankfully, the prospect of vaccination as a control is increasing. Maybe that could prove enough, but no one seems to be projecting an early onset of herd immunity. Many obstacles to that goal are anticipated.

    There is no conservatism in taking the lid off and hoping for vaccination to save everyone. But that is the friendliest interpretation you can put on Blackman's advocacy. A less friendly interpretation, for Blackman, and maybe for the Court if it decides as Blackman urges, is that they think morality has no place in this reckoning. They like their legal principles, however poorly tailored to the facts, and care less about how many otherwise avoidable deaths their decisions inflict.

    People are weary of the pandemic. They want to minimize it. Don't do that, please. Not yet. The Vietnam War was a big deal, which few would minimize. This pandemic has in one year killed almost 10 times the number of Americans who died in combat in Vietnam, over the many years that war lasted. Don't minimize that. This pandemic has dealt death to Americans at a rate almost 100 times faster than did the Vietnam War. Take that into account. Err on the side of conservatism, and decide with the current viral prevalence numbers in mind.

    1. If California were as worried about the virus as you think they should be, they would impose similar restrictions on non-religious activities as they do on religious activities. But their rules for religious activities are stricter, which is the entire problem.

      1. If. they were serious, CA would have also shut down Hollywood..

        1. Hollywood represents one of the only businesses where the US still exports to the rest of the world. That and soybeans.

          1. The US exports monstrous amounts of stuff. We just import tons more.

            1. Right. We import tons and tons of stuff in cardboard boxes, then export the boxes as used cardboard.

          2. Neither the US Constitution nor the science of public health recognizes ability to export.

            If this was anything other than Kubuki Theater, they'd shut down Hollywood too.

      2. Michael P, show that the rules for religious services are stricter, using as your standard of comparison the amount of potential viral exposure a religious service held in a church generates (on the way to church, in the church, after church), vs. the amount of viral exposure the same congregation generates receiving a week's supply of groceries by delivery, or by curbside pickup. Compare the potential viral exposures in terms of permutations and combinations among the people interacting, from start to finish of their mutual exposures. If you wish to offer other examples, do that for any other permitted activities.

        Show what happens with no food, vs. what happens with no religious service in a place of worship such as a church. Explain the difference between the loss suffered by substituting private religious devotion for congregation, vs. the loss suffered by substituting nothing for food.

        If an allowed non-religious activity is arguably more dangerous than a prohibited religious activity, show why your rule for a remedy is that the religious activity must be permitted, to add to the public health danger, instead of restricting or prohibiting the non-religious activity, to reduce the public health danger.

        If would-be congregants are aggrieved that they are treated unequally, why is their demand for a remedy that they be permitted to harm the public health to the same degree as others, instead of being a demand that the others be held to the standard applied to them, for the benefit of everyone's safety?

        If secular standards for public health safety are applied to would-be religious congregants, and their viral exposures are thus reduced—to the benefit of the safety of each individual—why is that aggregate benefit to the safety of the members of the congregation not reckoned against the burden of a lost opportunity to congregate?

        I do not expect that any system for regulating the dangers of contagion can be perfectly reasoned, or accurately exclude irregularities in every case. Unless you disagree, please explain in secular policy terms why it is better to privilege religion in every such case, instead of allowing irregularities among religious burdens to vary alike with the others.

        Explain why a demand can be reasonable that public policy be tailored to the particular styles of worship of every kind of religious congregation. Explain why if that is not reasonable, public policy cannot be tailored to consider religious activity in the aggregate, as it does with secular kinds of activity. Why is it a rule for public health regulation of religious activity that the regulation must be perfect in every case, and in every detail, or the entire effort must be cast aside?

        1. "Show what happens with no food, vs. what happens with no religious service in a place of worship such as a church. Explain the difference between the loss suffered by substituting private religious devotion for congregation, vs. the loss suffered by substituting nothing for food."

          Except that is precisely the attitude that is claimed to be unconstitutional here. Preventing a religious person from practicing IS an injury, even if someone who is more secular, like yourself I presume, doesn't think so. And yet you, or the government which is similarly secular, is making rules not understanding that that is an injury. That is precisely the problem here. And the constitution protects religious people for precisely that reason.

          And let's stop it with "loss of food." Its not just grocery stores. It's Hollywood studios, barbershops, etc ... now you might say, ok, but we need those things to bolster the economy.

          To which I respond, sure! but that is precisely the value judgements that dont acknowledge injuries suffered by religious people for preventing practice that is at issue at this case. The court has said you can't make those value judgements! You have acknowledge that that is an injury.

          Suppose the state had said, this is so serious and so high stakes that, you know what, therapists cannot visit clients in person. No. They must do online sessions. We acknowledge the harm this will do to clients, but this is more important.

          And then they ban religious services. Thats totally fine! The state acknowledged harm in both the secular and religious environment, and acted anyway.

          Religion is a form of therapy for a lot of people! In fact most research shows its fairly effective for that purpose. You might not understand that, thats fine, but the reason we have a constitution is that if you pass policies not understanding that they can and will be struck down.

          It is not ok to allow secular activities but disallow religious ones because you don't understand the importance of religion for a lot of people. Its just not.

          1. "Religion is a form of therapy for a lot of people! In fact most research shows its fairly effective for that purpose"

            Actually more effective, and that's in general.
            Don't forget that AA is based on Christian principles.

        2. You're asking me to prove that the state is wrong, which is an approach that the Supreme Court rejected in this kind of case. Also, the relevant comparisons are not between religious worship and getting groceries, but between religious worship and activities like indoor concerts.

          1. “A less friendly interpretation…is that they think morality has no place in this reckoning. They like their legal principles, however poorly tailored to the facts, and care less about how many otherwise avoidable deaths their decisions inflict.”

            Stephan,
            Your implied underlying principle is far from well established. You and others might look through papers:
            1. “COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink” Front. Public Health, 26 February 2021
            2. “Lockdown benefit varies among countries and sub-national units, medRxiv,
            3. “Assessing mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closure effects on the spread of COVID‐19″ European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Volume51, Issue4
            4.” Ranking the effectiveness of worldwide COVID-19 government interventions,” Nature Human Behaviour volume 4, pages1303–1312(2020).

            The case is not nearly as clear cut as many here ( and Newsom, Cuomo, etc.) seem to think

        3. There would have been no issue if the state hadn't singled out religious worship gatherings based solely on them being religious. Instead the state assumed that all religious worship gatherings, in spite of the very varied nature of them, were banned on the basis of them being "religious". Even if the state were generally correct in most cases that religious worship gatherings are more dangerous (perhaps due to typical density, vocalizations, and duration), the state must prove that with much more than a mere hunch and that's a high bar to clear.

          The state could have, for example, limited duration, mask wearing, social distance, and physical activities (to some degree) and imposed them on all public gatherings (perhaps sweeping up protests, people who linger too long in Walmart, etc. in the process). If these restrictions were merely "reasonable", they could be upheld even if they increased the cost, in time and money, of worship somewhat. Each group wanting to gather for religious worship would have to figure out how to comply with the rules just as BLM protesters and Walmart would.

          If a specific denomination found the regulations impossible to comply with because the restriction itself was against their religion, probably an exception would be required, but those are corner cases to be handled individually. Perhaps, for example, their long standing interpretation of their scripture requires that all congregants at a religious service physically hug the individual who "enlightened" them by leading the service.

          Gun violence and death is an issue in this country. Ignoring the ~60% of these deaths that are voluntarily self-inflicted, young Black men are responsible for a dramatically disproportionate number of these deaths and these deaths are concentrated in communities in and around areas populated disproportionately by Blacks. Yet I think we would all agree that the state could not impose a curfew on high crime neighborhoods that banned Blacks, but not Asians and Whites, from being outside between dusk and dawn but might be able to institute such a curfew on everyone in these neighborhoods. This COVID-19 situation seems no different - it's just targeting religious people rather than Black people.

    2. "Take a look at the dire spike in cases which developed nationwide after September. Look at the case numbers which preceded that spike, during August and September. Those pre-spike prevalence numbers were far smaller then than the present ones are. That tells you the natural tendency of the pandemic now is more virulent than before."

      This is utter nonsense.

      You're ignoring the most important part of the analysis here - what's the immunity situation of the population.

      In September, the virus hadn't infected nearly as many people, and there were no vaccines. Most of the population was still vulnerable.

      Today is a totally different picture. The CDC estimates ~80 million people have been infected with Covid-19. That's ~1/4 of the population. 51 million people have been fully vaccinated (and far more have received at least one shot) - call it 1/6th to round to a nice number and be overly cautious (one shot is only a little less effective than two shots, and we aren't even looking for what that number is). Now, some of those will be the same people, so the expected immune fraction of the population is 1/4 + 1/6 - 1/4*1/6 = ~3/8ths of the population is immune.

      That's a lot of people who can't catch covid-19, and almost certainly can't pass it on to others. That will have an enormous dampening effect on the spread of the virus. If R0 was 3, Rnow is much much lower.

      Only an idiot would pretend that the number of current cases is the most relevant data for what the future case potential looks like.

      1. Squirrelloid, your reasoning is plausible, but not persuasive. If what you say amounted to the proof you want it to be, then daily cases nationwide now would be back down to levels seen last summer, or below them. Instead, the numbers are far greater than last summer, and in many states the daily total is increasing—which should not be happening if increasing immunity is in the process of suppressing the pandemic. Most likely, there is increasing immunity, but it is not yet in the process of of suppressing the pandemic, or not suppressing it enough to keep cases from increasing, albeit at a lower rate.

        Also, the notion that 1/4 of the population has been infected is fanciful, and not consistent with medical reporting of actual cases. Johns Hopkins puts U.S. cases below 10% of the population.

        Of course, immune factors you mention must be presumed to slow viral spread. But the premises you cite with regard to immunity may be flawed, or it may be that making immune notably less than 50% of the population doesn't put that much of a drag on cases. Now is not the time to throw caution to the winds.

        1. "If what you say amounted to the proof you want it to be, then daily cases nationwide now would be back down to levels seen last summer,"

          Scroll down to the graph titled 'Daily New Cases in the United States'.

          Does July qualify as 'last summer'.

  5. So we should schedule legal actions in accordance with religious calendars?!?

    1. The snowflakes have landed.

    2. "This man is hereby released."

      "But it's Friday evening."

      "Eh, Monday morn is good enough."

      Yee ha!

    3. No, we should penalize public officials who circumvent judicial review of actions the facially violate SCOTUS rulings.

      1. The Ninth Circuit says it didn't. This may come as a surprise, but their opinion carries more weight than yours.

        1. Your retort is obvious, but it does not mean that the 9th CIrcuit panel is correct.
          When the State moves to moot litigation as a matter of habit, courts' complicity in that tactic only encourages more such bad faith actions whether you happen to agree or not.
          The fact that the practice has devolved into a game of wack-a-mole. Is sufficient evidence of legal game playing in bad faith.

          1. I'm not arguing the 9th Circuit was correct. I don't think they were correct. But it's clearly an arguable issue, not a clear-cut facial violation of a SCOTUS ruling. As for the State's motives, I think you and Prof. Blackman are making assumptions which may or may not be true. I'm not sure what the California legislature gains by passing a law they know will be struck down, and repealing it before SCOTUS review. What's the point?

      2. Violate them so facially that the relevant Court of Appeals just reached the exact opposite conclusion?

  6. If I'm reading this right...this is taking begging the question to a whole new level.

    1. And we certainly wouldn't want to waste any time begging the question when we can play much more fun games like Guess What Sarc's Thinking!

      1. Blackman is sure the SCOTUS agrees with his take. So sure he thinks the California legislature agrees with him and this is the motive behind their action.

        This is not a healthy way to consider justice - it boils down to 'a just system instantiates only my idiosyncratic views; anything else is oppression.'

        Blackman is a lot more like the commentariat here than the bloggers here.

        1. That's disingenuous, and you know it.

          This "whac-a-mole" scenario with religious rights in California (and other states like NY) during the pandemic has come up far too frequently to claim it's just an issue of "Blackmun's idiosyncratic views".

          1. 1) Did NY go back after they changed their policy? They did not. So it's not true in NY.

            It's even less true here. The court decision was *in California's favor*. And Blackman is basically lying (certainly to himself) about SCOTUS precedent [hint: a concurrence is not a controlling opinion).
            Blackman's telepathy is based on that nonsense and supposition.

            So no, it isn't wack-a-mole.

            1. What puzzles me about Prof. Blackman's theory here is what the California legislature would gain by that strategy. They pass a measure they know will be struck down by SCOTUS, and repeal it before SCOTUS review. To what purpose?

    2. You might be using the phrase correctly. CA is assuming what the Court would answer if the case went forward.

      1. Blackman is assuming that CA is assuming.

    3. Typical content-free Sarcastr0 complaint. Nihilism.

  7. "This never-ending game of whac-a-mole is such an abject waste of everyone's time."

    Is there some kind of advantage to be gained from catching and spreading coronavirus? Why are the religious folk so intent on making sure everybody gets a chance to harbor the virus? If you want to go meet Jesus so badly, get yourself some poisonous vipers!

    1. There's only one way you can absolutely guarantee you're never ever going to catch something icky from someone else, or spread something icky to someone else. If that's now truly the most important thing in life for you and all the other fruitcakes this debacle has drawn out of the woodwork, perhaps all of you should fully commit to your belief system and set an example for the rest of us.

      We can call it the "reverse rapture" or something catchy like that.

      1. The case is far from as clear cut as you and Newsom seem to think. You should look at serious scholarship rather than listening to your political masters:
        1. “COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink” Front. Public Health, 26 February 2021
        2. “Lockdown benefit varies among countries and sub-national units, medRxiv,
        3. “Assessing mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closure effects on the spread of COVID‐19″ European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Volume51, Issue 4.
        4.” Ranking the effectiveness of worldwide COVID-19 government interventions,” Nature Human Behaviour volume 4, pages1303–1312(2020).

        1. We showed that the most effective measures include closing and restricting most places where people gather in smaller or larger numbers for extended periods of time (businesses, bars, schools and so on). However, we also find several highly effective measures that are less intrusive. These include land border restrictions, governmental support to vulnerable populations and risk-communication strategies.
          ====================
          Some Suggestions: What Can We Do?
          Focus on Protecting Those at High Risk
          Open Schools for Children
          Consider Increasing Health Care Surge Capacity
          Build Back Better

          This conforms roughly to my prejudices. Which makes me both skeptical, and happy.

          1. I have been doing serious research on SARS-CoV-2 as part of an international group for the past 12 months. It is awfully easy to let your prejudices influence what papers you want to believe, instead of look at all skeptically.
            Naturally there is now a huge literature to tract. Fortunately there is one service that puts out a weekly newsletter with links to the most useful manuscripts in the major journals and preprint servers.

        2. The case is far from as clear cut as you and Newsom seem to think.

          Dude. No one who has been around here for more than 5 minutes and has been paying the slightest bit of attention would possibly consider bucketing me with Gavin Newsom or think I support lockdowns. Proof positive sarcasm doesn't work well on the interwebs, I guess.

          1. Click on the links, maybe. They're a lot more nuanced than pro- or anti-lockdown.

            1. 1. What links?

              2. I don't need to go find a paper titled "Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink" that someone has sent me while grouping me with Gavin Newsom to have a decent enough sense that the paper is not advocating for lockdowns. If you do, well, I guess we all bring something different to the table.

              3. I actually did go find it and read a bit of it anyway, before responding, because I have a decent level of intellectual curiosity. I'm very comfortable my response is consistent with that.

              Other than all that, thanks for playing as usual.

  8. "A decision on Sunday, April 11, would allow the group to worship on their Sabbath."

    So does no decision by April 11, or no decision at all.

    They aren't stopped from worshipping. They're stopped from gathering while there's still a pandemic.

    To put it in religious terms, if God wanted them to gather in large groups, He wouldn't have created the coronavirus or allowed it to spread to California.

    1. Some here claim the government isn't doing whack-a-mole, but has acknowledged the unconstitutionality of it.

      So let's put that to the test. Gather for service, and let's see if this noble government deliberately and knowingly tries to enforce a law it acknowledges as unconstitutional (according to some here.)

      1. I think that your suggestion is a good one. My bet is that CA will blink in that game of chicken as they would nullify the wack-a-mole defence.

    2. "To put it in religious terms, if God wanted them to gather in large groups, He wouldn’t have created the coronavirus or allowed it to spread to California."
      That is shithead thinking and petty sophistry

      1. "That is shithead thinking"

        So you like it, then?

        1. No. I dislike shitheads and snarks. Your comments consistently prove yourself to be both.

      2. "That is shithead thinking and petty sophistry"

        Better than, worse than, or no different from adult-onset superstition?

  9. The left is just a disgusting group of people. I hope the next Islamic terrorist attack, or the next Nation of Islam attack like yesterday, comes in the form of a dirty bomb being detonated in San Francisco, D.C., NYC, Detroit, Atlanta or some other city that is 80% Democrat.

  10. "Thanks to the PDF's metadata, I can pinpoint the exact minute when the guidance was changed. The document was created at 4:20 PM (PT), and was finalized at 4:56 PM (PT). Once again, the application was filed around 3:00 PM (PT). This change wasn't planned in advance. The government released this policy after the 9th Circuit ruled, and in response to the imminent application."

    Professor Blackman has clearly never worked for a large organization. There is NO WAY that a state government found out about the application, drafted up a whole new policy, got it approved by the various internal stakeholders, and finalized it in less than two hours. I'd be intrigued to hear what the fastest any of the courts he clerked on managed to turn around a response to an emergency motion.

  11. I do think that churches that believe this should just gather anyway. Follow the religious belief and then if the government tries to punish it, you have a live controversy that can't be mooted.

    1. Or God punishes them by giving them Coronavirus, and there's no appeals from that.

    2. As the accelerating diminution of organized religion continues in America, those who favor religion figure they should (1) devote most of their public activity to arguing 'we should have a special privilege to engage in bigotry' and (2) flout a pandemic?

      Perhaps they are counting on a miracle?

  12. That's disingenuous, and you know it.

    This "whac-a-mole" scenario with religious rights in California (and other states like NY) during the pandemic has come up far too frequently to claim it's just an issue of "Blackmun's idiosyncratic views".

  13. Tandon should sue the officials personally. Kagan's last opinion on the subject seemed to make it clear that these rights are clearly established.

    1. Of course the rights are clearly established. That's why they won in the 9th Circuit.

  14. Instead of seeking injunctive relief before hand, would the alternative be to become martyrs? Hold your service. If the state ignores you, then keep on keeping on. If the state molests you, then you have a damage for which monetary relief can be sought. might be only nominal damages, but that keeps it in court because even if the state relaxes their position going forward, the suit is about the past damage.
    It seems it takes two to play whack-a-mole.

    1. Just right.
      The state assumes that the plaintiff will blink first in this game of chicken.
      One would be very surprised to see the CHP breaking down the doors of the church during the Easter service.

      1. Superstition and belligerent ignorance are a natural fit.

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