Monday, March 30, 2020

The First Amendment in the time of pandemic

The charges are unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules.  

Is this allowed?  I'll let our regular commenter/resident practicing attorney (no, not me) explain:

If the issue here is the first amendment,

first, that would prevent almost all forms of mass expression and entertainment from being shut down

second, it can be allowable as a "time, place and manner" restriction

IOW, a red herring

I greatly value the notion of freedom of religion in the first amendment. But I fear how so many people are going to lose any sense of the importance of freedom of religion by its loudest advocates insisting it nullifies the obligation to abide by conventional public health measures.

There is no 1st Amendment issue, IOW.  Freedom of assembly can be regulated as to time and place; even "freedom of religion" can be restricted for reasons of public health.

“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” [Sheriff] Chronister said.

And this came after repeated attempts to meet with Pastor Howard-Browne about the church's violations.  The arrest warrant came last, not first.  As a Supreme Court justice once said, IIRC: the Constitution is not a mutual suicide pact.

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