DOJ And Northam Square Off

May 04, 2020 - 10:06 am

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Richmond, VA _  In the first action by the Department of Justice since Attorney General William Barr announced he would be searching for state and local government excesses in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the feds will square off against Governor Ralph Northam's stay-at-home order Monday on behalf of a Chincoteague church which claims the order violates the Constitution.

Lighthouse Fellowship Church filed suit after its pastor was cited for holding a church service last month with 16 people in attendance, in violation of the order stipulating that gatherings be limited to 10 people or less.  The suit alleges, and the DOJ agrees, that the order unfairly targets religious institutions since liquor stores and retail stores are being permitted to operate with more than 10 people on the premises.

Norfolk U.S. District Judge Arenda Allena turned down the church's request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction on Friday saying church's could use online worship, home visits, and other techniques to adapt to the order.

Lawyers the Florida-based Liberty Counsel who are representing the church, appealed Allen's ruling to Richmond's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.