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Federal Judge Rules D.C. Capacity Limits On Religious Gatherings Are Unconstitutional

A federal district court judge ruled Thursday caps on religious services in Washington D.C. were unconstitutional going into the Easter holiday.

Judge Trevor N. McFadden, appointed under former President Donald Trump in 2017, concluded the district’s guidelines set the nation’s capital apart from the 37 states with no attendance caps on church gatherings.

The ruling comes just in time for Easter Sunday on April 4, one year after the holiday was interrupted by state and local officials who implemented guidelines to ban large congregations. Restrictions targeting religious services quickly became a theme of the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

In Louisville, Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer sought criminal penalties for those who even attended a drive-in Easter service before a federal judge in Kentucky blocked the mayor’s power grab. In Greenville, Mississippi, residents who attended church gatherings were slapped with $500 fines in a case that provoked the Trump Department of Justice to take action.