Join us for an online discussion on January 5 from 2-3 pm ET with Baltimore School of Law Professor Emeritus and author Garrett Epps who will answer questions about contemporary threats to people’s assembly rights.
On November 26th, the United States Supreme Court ordered a preliminary injunction barring the state of New York from enforcing a restriction on religious gatherings after finding that the regulations “single[d] out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.”
On November 6th, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ordered a lower court to halt the state’s restrictions on public gatherings because the Wisconsin Department of Health Services had failed to submit the order to the legislature before making it official, thus rendering the order invalid.
On September 14th, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19-related orders that forced some businesses to close and prohibited large public gatherings are unconstitutional.
The Fourth Circuit is the first federal appellate court to find parts of the law unconstitutionally overbroad under the First Amendment. The ruling could impact Attorney General William P. Barr’s plan to use the law to prosecute individuals accused of inciting riots during the demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota, along with law firm Fish & Richardson, has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of four protesters against the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Chief, the head of the police officer’s union, and others.
“By banning protests generally, and denying Givens’ permit specifically, Defendants have deprived Givens of the opportunity for airing his grievances against the government, including the State’s failure to conduct timely background checks for those wishing to purchase a gun and restrictions on speech activities,” the complaint argues.
The suit contends that religious groups should be allowed to gather in person “regardless of the number of participants,” if they agree to “adequate social distancing.”