Judge orders Calif gov Newsom to pay $1.35 million for illegally locking down church

I am pretty certain that California taxpayers will have to cough up the money to pay for Gavin Newsom's misbehavior, even as cop-haters press to make police officers personally liable for judgments against their actions on the job.  Nonetheless, it is a satisfying development in the disposal of Newsom's unconstitutional shutdown of religious services in the name of COVID.

Landon Mion reports on Townhall:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.35 million for the lockdown of 3,000 churches amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has been deemed discriminatory.

Newsom is required to pay the costs and attorney fees for a lawsuit from Harvest Rock Church that went to the United States Supreme Court. The judge said Newsom and other state officials cannot regulate church attendance unless certain dire circumstances laid out were to arise, which is not likely.

U.S. District Court Judge Jesus G. Bernal ruled that limitations on church gatherings can only be imposed if child infections rise 100 percent, cases in the state are at a minimum of 26 per 100,000 people or available ICU hospital bed capacity drops to under 20 percent. 

California may only place restrictions on churches if they are identical to other social gatherings.


Newsom in 2019.  Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

The order came as part of a settlement agreement between Harvest Rock Church, represented by Liberty Counsel, and the state of California that also included a permanent injunction against imposing restrictions on churches and other houses of worship.

Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver said of the settlement, "Governor Gavin Newsom's COVID restrictions discriminated against churches while providing preferential treatment to many secular businesses and gatherings. The Supreme Court intervened multiple times to provide relief. Under the settlement, California may never again place discriminatory restrictions on churches and places of worship. We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn's leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California."

Liberty Counsel will receive the funds to compensate it for representing the church.

In the past, awards of attorney's fees in constitutional rights litigation have often benefited left-wing legal groups like the ACLU and SPLC.  Now that the government has been captured by extreme progressives and become repressive towards religion, gun-owners, free speech, and other causes championed by conservatives, I wonder how long it will be until leftists start pushing to prevent the awarding of attorney's fees!

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.