Federal judge allows NC churches to meet inside
- coronavirus government,
- coronavirus after the outbreak,
- social distancing,
Posted May 16, 2020 3:35 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2020 7:18 a.m. EDT
By Aaron Thomas, WRAL reporter
After filing a lawsuit against Governor Cooper’s order allowing gatherings of only 10 people or less, church leaders won a temporary restraining order, allowing them to meet in larger numbers for worship for at least 14 days.
The ruling was issued Saturday by US District Court Judge James C. Dever III. He wrote, in part:
“There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution of the United States or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their Free Exercise claim concerning the assembly for religious worship provisions in Executive Order 138, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order, that the equities tip in their favor, and that a temporary restraining order is in the public interest. Thus, having considered the entire record and governing law, the court grants plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order.
“No constitutional right-including the right of free exercise of religion-is absolute. … Individual liberties, “under the pressure of great dangers,” may be reasonably restricted “as the safety of the general public may demand.