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Supreme Court rejects Covid-19 dissenter’s plea not to be prosecuted

Supreme Court rejects Covid-19 dissenter’s plea not to be prosecuted December 1, 2020

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LOUISIANA’S ghastly attention-seeking pastor Tony Spell, above, who has had several brushes with the law this year over breaches of lockdown measures, and was arrested for aggravated assault when he allegedly tried to run over a man with his church bus, has failed in his attempt to get the US Supreme Court to quash a number of charges against him.  

Spell, who was refused entry to a court where one of his hearings was held because he refused to wear a mask, had gone to the Supreme Court seeking emergency relief from charges relating to his refusal to halt in-person worship services at his Spell of Life Tabernacle Church.

On on Friday evening Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito tossed Spell’s petition without referring the matter to the full court.

The posturing tit responded by saying:

Governor John Bel Edwards has ignored the United States Constitution and the First Amendment. He’s ignored the Louisiana State Constitution. He has sued his own Louisiana legislature.

At this time, the United States Supreme Court was not prepared to hear our case.

We will appeal it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where we have been two times already.

In his petition, filed on November 18, Spell argued that Edwards’ restrictions violated his First Amendment rights.

The State has shown a shocking and unprecedented commitment to criminally prosecuting its strongest dissenter in violation of one of the First Amendment’s most precious guarantees: the right of a church, which by definition is an assembly, to decide whether to assemble or not.

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In a statement, the Democratic Governor – pictured above left with some sour old Republican has-been – thanked the Supreme Court for rejecting Spell’s petition.

Throughout the course of this pandemic, I have let science and data inform the many difficult decisions I have made regarding gathering sizes and other mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID.

I have taken no such decisions lightly. The reasonable, legal mitigation measures have been necessary to protect the people of Louisiana from unchecked spread of the coronavirus, which would limit hospitals’ ability to deliver care.

For months I have spoken and prayed with leaders of many faiths as we have navigated this pandemic together. I know how difficult this time has been for them and I am deeply appreciative of their commitment to practice their faiths even under trying circumstances and with the health of their congregations in mind.

Edwards also quoted Pope Francis as saying last week:

Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.

Spell filed a lawsuit against the state in May after he was charged with violating COVID-19 restrictions, but lower courts ruled against him.

He was refused entry to a court In September when he was to face six misdemeanor charges for holding worship services attended by hundreds over the spring.

Through his lawyer, Spell pleaded not guilty to the charges. A hearing for the case was scheduled for January 2021.

In Louisiana, there are currently 232,000 coronavirus cases and over 6,400 coronavirus-related deaths among a population of more than 4.64 million residents.

An elderly member of Life Tabernacle died after contracting the coronavirus in April, according to a coroner’s report. But Spell labeled the report a “lie.”

In addition to the misdemeanor charges, Spell was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly backed up a church bus toward a man protesting his church’s defiance of the Governor’s orders.

The pastor has previously claimed that he simply “approached” a man who had “verbally assaulted my wife and little girls.”

Spell’s maintains he is being “persecuted for the faith.”

Bet you never saw that coming.

• Please report any typos/errors to barry@freethinker.co.uk

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