County of Los Angeles, et al. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur)

admin California Court of Appeal, Constitutional Law

Today we filed an amicus brief in a California appellate count in support of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church.  That Church began holding in-person, indoor services in late July despite a ban imposed on such services by Los Angeles County due to COVID-19.  The Church, inter alia, has asserted that the ban violates Article I, section 4 of the California Constitution (free exercise of religion), and asks the Court to apply strict scrutiny.  Our amicus brief is different, asking the Court not to use a judge-empowering interest balancing test, but rather to seek out the “text, history, and tradition” of the free exercise clause.  Our brief analyzes the historical basis of the free exercise protection, including writings of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, and urges the Court to determine that Los Angeles has no jurisdiction whatsoever to regulate religious services.  Our brief was filed on behalf of One Nation Under God Foundation and Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Link to application for leave to file and brief amicus curiae in opposition to Los Angeles County Petition for Writ of Mandate.

Link to Grace Community Church Elders Statement, Christ, not Caesar, is Head of the Church:  A Biblical Case for the Church’s Duty to Remain Open.

Link to One Nation Under God Foundation website.

Link to Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund website.