A divided Supreme Court has chosen not to intervene in an emergency appeal by a church in Southern California to lift COVID-19 restrictions that limit congregation sizes.

The justices responded with a 5-4 vote in the case filed on May 26 by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, near San Diego. The church had argued that California Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening orders violated the Constitution because they placed fewer restrictions on some secular businesses than they did on houses of worship.

The church wanted to hold its regular services on Pentecost. Currently, the state’s restrictions limit church attendance to 100 attendees or 25 per cent of the church capacity, whichever is lower.

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