Turns out there are even more settlements for religious freedom civil rights violations in California than I have yet covered.
Current tally is over $5 million reimbursement for legal fees in 11 settlements, 8 of which are for repressing free expression of religion. One settlement did not have any dollars attached.
In addition, the state has spent $9.5 million in an effort to defend its willful violation of civil rights.
That’s about $15 million of taxpayer money to defend suppression of free exercise of religion.
There have been over 100 lawsuits filed against the state for Covid lockdown requirements. Most of them have been dismissed or went in the favor of the state efforts to close the economy.
However, at least 12 have gone in favor of plaintiffs. Most significant of those have resulted in orders from the U.S. Supreme Court forcing the state of California to again honor the Constitution of the United States.
All people of faith, along with everyone who values any clause in the First Amendment, should be relieved that SCOTUS still believes in the Constitution.
Religious freedom settlements
Additional settlements with churches or pastors for willful violations of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment:
$500,000 – Six churches in Santa Clara County sued the county over their Covid restrictions. The county’s too-clever effort to get around any First Amendment claims was to be even more repressive than the state requirements. The county banned all indoor gatherings instead of providing a long list of exemptions. The Supreme Court knocked down this invalid reasoning as well. I haven’t seen a breakdown of how much the county is kicking in to the total settlement, whether that is a part of the $500K or in addition.
$140,000 – Word Aflame Tabernacle in LA County.
$45,000 – A group of three churches in northern California.
There are several other smaller settlements by the state:
$95,000 – A variety of parents in San Diego County upset about restrictive school closures.
$60,000 – Two San Diego strip clubs who filed suit on the claim that stripping constitutes free-speech under the First Amendment.
$15,402 – Several tattoo shops in Los Angeles. I’m not familiar with and will not research their claims. Since there is a dollar settlement from the state that implies the lawsuit claimed a civil rights violation.
No dollars – Another settlement allowed youth sports to continue in the state but there are no dollars paid. I will make a wild guess that this was not a civil rights complaint and therefore there is no requirement to reimburse legal fees, or these groups didn’t want to bother with another lawsuit to force payment.
In the articles that follow, official statements from the state claim the restrictive requirements were tremendously successful in holding down the Covid infection rate. Science indicates that’s not quite the case. Check out the CDC’s state-by-state stats which indicate California’s cumulative infection rate is not much better than some states which had far less restrictive requirements. Infection rates in California are actually much worse than some states that had strong lockdowns.
Wow, it is almost as if the level of restrictions does not have much correlation to the infection rate. That is what the science indicates. That is a story for another day.
Source of above information:
- 8/31 –SFist – California Has Quietly Paid $4.4 Million to Settle Covid-19 Shutdown Lawsuits
- 8/31/21 – San Francisco Chronicle – Covid shutdown lawsuits cost California more than $4 million for settlements
- 2/12/21 – Hoodline – Days after allowing indoor worship services, Santa Clara County reinstates been setting a big court ruling ahead