Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Recent developments in Lighthouse Fellowship Church v. Northam, a fast-moving challenge to the application of Virginia's ban on gatherings over 10
National media recently began reporting on Lighthouse Fellowship Church v. Northam (E.D. Va.) after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest supporting the church's challenge to the application of Governor Northam's orders banning gatherings of more than ten persons. The issue will be fully joined on Thursday, when Virginia will file its first detailed response. I'm still working my way through the filings, which should be of interest to anyone thinking hard about the way the issues raised by Marc's recent post about equality and church-closure issues. Here's a quick timeline with links:
April 5: Chesapeake Police issue criminal summons against Pastor Kevin Wilson in connection with 16-person worship service at Fellowship Baptist Church (seating capacity > 290 persons).
April 24: Fellowship Baptist Church files a complaint and motion for TRO and PI in Eastern District of Virginia.
May 1: Judge Wright Allen denies motion for TRO and preliminary injunction with 33-page opinion and order.
May 2: Fellowship Baptist Church files a motion for emergency injunction pending appeal.
May 3: Department of Justice files a Statement of Interest supporting Fellowship Baptist Church's motion for injunction pending appeal.
May 3: Virginia files notice of intent to respond by Thursday, May 7.
May 4: Judge Wright Allen takes motion for emergency injunction under advisement. Orders Virginia to respond by Thursday, May 7.