In a recent op-ed for Real Clear Politics, Catholic Law Professor Mark Rienzi discussed the March 25 decision of a Washington, D.C. federal judge to strike down the numerical cap placed on places of worship within the District. The decision marked a big win for religious worshippers before Holy Week, Easter, and Passover. It is also the latest—and potentially the last—of the many cases across the country that challenged governmental rights to impose number limits on houses of worship in response to COVID-19. In the article, Rienzi reflects on several of the country’s cases and the lessons they provide in protecting constitutional rights, even in the face of national emergencies like the pandemic.
Real Clear Politics
By: Mark Rienzi
Date: April 1, 2021
COVID’s Religious Liberty Lesson for Courts
The arc of those cases teaches an important lesson about the role of courts in protecting constitutional rights, even in emergencies. When courts simply defer to governments about the need to restrict liberty, governments will restrict more liberty. Worse, they will favor the interests they think are important, and restrict rights that they think are not so important. But when courts scrutinize government claims — when they ask questions and require support before allowing governments to restrict liberty — then constitutional rights are far more secure.
For the full op-ed, click here.