Lauren M. Marsh


The case of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak demonstrates the breadth of a State’s authority during a public health crisis. The SAR-Co-V-2 (“COVID-19”) pandemic led to the declaration of emergency orders and most states creating guidelines for the public to follow to reduce the potential spread of the virus. These guidelines typically included bans on large gatherings, including gatherings in houses of worship, after research showed that large gatherings often turn into “superspreader” events. This led to numerous lawsuits claiming impediments in violation of the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause of the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court’s lack of clarification of how to balance constitutional analysis with a public health emergency is a cause for confusion and concern in how States should proceed during a public health emergency.

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