Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church v. Pritzker, No. 21-2523 (7th Cir. 2022)

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Justia Opinion Summary

Two churches sued Illinois Governor Pritzker after he issued an executive order that limited to 10 the number of people who could attend a religious service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district court declined to enjoin enforcement. By the time the appeal reached the Seventh Circuit, Pritzker had rescinded the order. The court held that the case was not moot but that the order did not violate the Free Exercise Clause. The churches nonetheless requested that the district court issue an injunction, citing recent Supreme Court decisions. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the request. The court noted that the Governor will likely consider recent legal developments in crafting any new order in response to the recent surge. The court further noted that Pritzker is entitled to qualified immunity and that an award of damages is not available.

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Primary Holding
Seventh Circuit rejects, for a second time, a challenge to a now-rescinded 2020 Illinois executive order limiting the number of people who could attend a religious service during the pandemic.

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