May 13, 2022 at 01:37PM COVID orders violated Pastor Tony Spell’s freedom of religion, Louisiana Supreme Court says
The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Tony Spell, the Central Pastor who continued to hold church services in defiance of restrictions Gov. John Bel Edwards imposed to stop the spread of COVID.
Overruling lower courts, the justices ruled that the restrictions on gatherings and the stay-at-home mandate Edwards imposed were unconstitutional as they applied to Spell. They ordered the charges against him quashed.
Justices John Weimer and Scott Chrichton dissented on the ruling.
Statement from Gov. John Bel Edwards:
“While the Governor disagrees with the Court’s ruling and maintains that his orders were both necessary and lawful, he is accepting of it. Each and every action Gov. Edwards took throughout the COVID pandemic was done with the goal of protecting the public’s health and saving lives.
“Gov. Edwards has always recognized the importance of places of worship during COVID, which is why they were never closed while the public health emergency was in place. The Governor worked closely with faith leaders throughout the pandemic, and all were encouraged to hold services as safely as possible to protect their congregations.
“Fortunately, we have made great strides since then thanks to the safe, effective and widely available vaccines as well as other mitigation measures and therapeutics, but we must never forget the more than 17,000 Louisianans who have died from the virus nor those who were either hospitalized or suffered serious illness as a result of it.”
This is a developing story. See below to read the court’s ruling.