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Sunday, April 12, 2020
Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Ban On In-Person Religious Services
Amid the debate over whether it is legal and proper for governors to ban church services to stem the spread of COVID-19, the Kansas Supreme Court has weighed in and upheld the authority of the governor to prohibit services with more than 10 people in attendance.
Per Kansas’ KCUR news, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s order was challenged by the Republican legislature. The state Supreme Court weighed in on the issue late Saturday night and handed the governor a victory hours before Easter sunrise services would have been held.
The expedited ruling was decided on a technical matter rather than the merits of the case. The judges decided that the plain language of Kansas law did not permit the Legislative Coordinating Council to overrule the governor’s Executive Order banning “mass gatherings.”
The Executive Order defined “mass gatherings” as “any planned or spontaneous, public or private event[s] or convening[s] that will bring together or [are] likely to bring together more than 10 people in a confined or enclosed space at the same time.” The order replaced an earlier order that contained an exception for “religious gatherings” and “funeral or memorial services or ceremonies.”
The opposing sides did not even gather in person to argue the case. Court proceedings were carried out via an internet video conference on Zoom.