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Supreme Court won't block Maine's Covid restrictions on churches

The church pointed to the delta variant in asking the court to decide on restrictions that have already been lifted.
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from a church in Maine to prevent the state's reimposing Covid-related restrictions.

Calvary Chapel of Bangor said the rules were the "most severe restrictions in the nation on places of worship," beginning with a ban on gatherings for religious worship, which was modified later to allow 50 worshippers in the church. The limits violated its religious freedom while making exceptions for other gatherings, it said.

On May 24, Gov. Janet Mills lifted the capacity limits on public indoor venues. But the church urged the court to take up its request anyway, arguing that the state might reimpose the rules. With concern over the delta variant, "Calvary Chapel remains under a constant threat that the governor will reinstate her unconstitutional restrictions at any time," it said in a petition.

Calvary Chapel of Bangor in Maine.
Calvary Chapel of Bangor, Maine.Google Maps

Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the church's motion for an injunction without comment, as is the court's usual practice. However, the fact that the church objected to restrictions that were no longer in effect is likely to have doomed the appeal.

The Supreme Court hasn't been reluctant to block state Covid restrictions that religious institutions claim interfered with their religious freedom, having issued nearly a dozen rulings in their favor since last fall.