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Federal Appeals Panel Orders District Court To Revisit South Bay Church’s Case

South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, May 20, 2020.

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, May 20, 2020.

A federal appeals court panel Tuesday ordered a lower court to revisit its ruling against a Chula Vista church's request to challenge the state's COVID-19-related restrictions on indoor worship services.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant's Oct. 15 order denying South Bay United Pentecostal Church's request for a preliminary injunction and ordered further consideration of its request.

The panel based Tuesday's ruling on recent U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in favor of houses of worship challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus-related restrictions and a Pasadena-based church also challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom's restrictions.

Paul Jonna, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, which is representing South Bay United Pentecostal Church applauded the action, saying, "The guidance from the Supreme Court makes it abundantly clear that California's restrictions on houses of worship are blatantly unconstitutional. We are confident that South Bay will fully vindicate its fundamental constitutional rights in short order."

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