Court dismisses Louisiana pastor’s virus restrictions suit

A federal court has again rejected a Louisiana pastor’s lawsuit over Gov. John Bel Edwards’ past COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings

Jackson first rejected the lawsuit in November 2020. The following July, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the judge should look at the case again in light of three recent Supreme Court opinions blocking some restrictions on indoor worship in New York and California. The panel stressed that it wasn’t ruling on the merits of the case.

After reviewing the case again, Jackson again dismissed the lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs’ demand for damages fails because there is not now, and never has been, a ‘clearly established’ right to unrestricted religious assembly, and at all relevant times Defendants reasonably believed that they were acting within the constitutional limits set by the Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit,” Jackson wrote.

Spell also is fighting state charges for the violations of pandemic-related gathering limits.

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