By Christopher Harper
At least the U.S. Supreme Court brings a bit of sanity to the otherwise chaotic state of Washington politics.
The court recently blocked a California order that restricted religious services that limited the study of the Bible. The ruling arose from a California prohibition on gatherings of people from more than three households and affected specific Bible study and prayer meetings held in a home.
“California treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise,” the 5-4 majority said in the order, “permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts, and indoor restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time.”
Referring to the lower appellate court that had permitted the California household restriction, the majority added, “This is the fifth time the (Supreme) Court has summarily rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise.”
Those in the majority were Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett.
Thank God for the three justices appointed under Donald Trump!
But the court rankles Joe Biden, who wants to change the structure of the highest judicial body in the land. He ordered a commission to study Supreme Court changes, such as adding seats, an idea pushed by progressives in his party.
The 36-member commission is charged with completing its findings within 180 days of its first public meeting.
The White House said topics before the commission would include “the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”
It’s somewhat ironic that one of the liberal justices on the court, Stephen Breyer, thinks the whole thing is a bad idea.
In a presentation at Harvard University, Breyer said proposals to restructure the Supreme Court could damage its reputation as an apolitical body. The court’s eldest justice at 82, Breyer said he hoped “to make those whose initial instincts may favor important structural (or other similar institutional) changes, such as forms of ‘court-packing,’ think long and hard before embodying those changes in law.”
It’s rare that I agree with Breyer, but his fellow liberals should take his message to heart.