From the official U.S. Department of Justice account:
During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services. While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs. Expect action from DOJ next week!
— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) April 12, 2020
I’m inclined to say that’s right as a general matter: (1) Generally applicable social distancing policies can be applied to church gatherings alongside other gatherings, and (2) the Free Exercise Clause forbids “singl[ing] out religious org[anizations]” and gatherings for special burdens that aren’t imposed equally on others. But of course, much depends on what exactly counts as singling out; I look forward to seeing what exactly the Justice Department does. In the meantime, I’ll have a post later this morning on the substance of the Kansas church shutdown controversy.
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