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US judge denies bid to open California churches during in COVID-19 pandemic

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday says he will deny a bid by three Southern California churches to hold in-person church services during the pandemic.

He says government’s emergency powers trump what in normal times would be fundamental constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal in Los Angeles said he will reject the temporary restraining order the churches sought against Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials.

They argued that the state’s stay-at-home orders violate the First Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly.

An attorney for the churches says it is not yet clear if or when the churches will appeal.  

Associated Press

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