Gov. Noem criticizes SCOTUS’ denial of Nevada church’s appeal of virus rule
PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem has issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court’s denial of a rural Nevada church’s request to strike down as unconstitutional a 50-person cap on worship services as part of the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus.
In a 5-4 decision Friday, the court refused to grant the request from the Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley of Reno to be subjected to the same COVID-19 restrictions in Nevada that allow casinos, restaurants and others to operate at 50% of capacity. The church argued the hard cap on religious gatherings was an unconstitutional violation of its First Amendment rights.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the majority in denying the request without explanation.
Governor Noem’s office released a statement Monday, asserting that Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak was imposing far more stringent restrictions on houses of worship than on entertainment venues like casinos or movie theaters.
“Late Friday night, the Supreme Court for the second time this year turned a blind eye to an obvious violation of people’s First Amendment rights.” said Governor Noem.
“Nevada’s total disregard for those who believe God calls them to assemble as a community – to worship and to participate in sacraments – unquestionably tramples on the sacred liberties of the people,” continued Gov. Noem, “In addition to this, Nevada also unapologetically denies equal protection – in the United States, government cannot treat casinos, amusement parks, and restaurants differently than churches.”
Governor Noem finished her statement by affirming her office’s commitment to upholding constitutional rights.
“Here in South Dakota, public servants will continue to respect the rule of law, equal protection under it, and the hallowed cause of liberty.”