Thanks to Justice Roberts and SCOTUS, churches in Nevada have more regulations than casinos.
In a 5 to 4 vote, Roberts sided with the four other liberal members to regulate Nevada churches.
Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in Dayton, Nevada argued that the state was treating churches harsher than casinos, restaurants, and amusement parks. Those businesses have been limited to 50% of their fire-code capacities. Meanwhile, churches have been restricted to a flat 50 person limit.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Clarence Thomas, and Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in the dissent that the distinction makes no sense.
“The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion,” he wrote. “It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine or to engage in any other game of chance. But the governor of Nevada apparently has different priorities.”
“A public health emergency does not give governors and other public officials carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists,” Justice Alito wrote.
In a similar case, the court made the same ruling in May and Justice Alito sided with the majority. What concerned him, in this case, is that casinos are being treated differently than churches.
“That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise,” he wrote, “but this court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing.”
In a second dissent, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said the case was simple.
“The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges,” he wrote. “But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”
Justice Kavanaugh wrote: “Nevada’s 50-person attendance cap on religious worship services puts praying at churches, synagogues, temples and mosques on worse footing than eating at restaurants, drinking at bars, gambling at casinos or biking at gyms,” he wrote. “In other words, Nevada is discriminating against religion.”