Federal judge upholds Nevada’s limit on church services
A federal judge in Las Vegas has ruled against two Nevada churches that argue the state’s coronavirus-related restrictions on religious gatherings are unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II denied requests Tuesday from one church in Dayton and another in Las Vegas that were seeking temporary injunctions to void the state’s 50-person cap on attendance at church services.
Lawyers for Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in Dayton and Calvary Chapel Lone Mountain in Las Vegas argued during a 90-minute telephonic hearing that they are being treated unfairly compared to other entities and businesses.
They wanted the judge to lift the 50-person cap and instead subject the churches to the less-stringent limits placed on casinos and others allowed to reopen at 50% of building capacity under social distancing protocols.
Judge Boulware says the churches could perhaps in the future prove there’s been a pattern of intentionally enforcing COVID-19 restrictions in a way that singles out religious gatherings. But he says there’s not enough evidence in the record at this time to warrant the court’s involvement.