Religious liberty and public health orders

“History buffs may recall that the first Free Exercise Clause case in Supreme Court history, in 1845, involved the prohibition of open-coffin funeral services in a New Orleans church during a yellow fever outbreak.” Any piece from Prof. Mike McConnell on religious liberty is likely to be worth reading and this is no exception (with Max Raskin) [New York Times, though I’m not fond of the clickbait-y headline]

Several courts have already heard challenges to governors’ and mayors’ closing and assembly orders; churches have won rulings in Louisville, Kentucky (strongly worded federal court opinion; case then settled; mayor says police will take down license plates of Easter churchgoers) and Kansas (analysis by Stuart Levine), while states have won rulings in New Hampshire (no evidence that ban on gatherings of 50 or more people “intended to target any religion or specific religious practice”) and New Mexico. More: Bonnie Kristian, Christianity Today; and here is a website on religion, law, and the COVID-19 emergency.

One Comment

  • I’d like to see more in-depth analysis of emergency powers laws, opportunities for checks/balances/oversight by the legislature and what sort of bounds exist on continued executive power.

    Some states seem to offer clear oversight by the legislature in the form of either required re-authorization or direct oversight. Others seem to have no such checks. In theory this could lead to an endless state of emergency when ultimately the citizens should have indirect control over the risks they’re willing to trade their freedoms to stop.

    There’s been very little pontification by Libertarian media. I’d love for CATO to fill the gap…