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U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Calvary Chapel appeal over COVID-19 restrictions

The Orrington church sued Gov. Janet Mills in December 2020, arguing restrictions designed to curtail the coronavirus pandemic violated the U.S. Constitution.

ORRINGTON, Maine — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by an Orrington Baptist church that sued Gov. Janet Mills over the state's vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The church sued Mills in December 2020 over Mills' executive order barring members from gathering in churches.

Pastor Ken Graves then defied Governor Janet Mills' coronavirus orders in May 2020 by holding two in-person services, triggering an outbreak of the coronavirus, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torreson denied the church's motion for a temporary restraining order.

In February, the Liberty Counsel, on behalf of Calvary Chapel, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an injunction to block Mills' order, claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Justice Stephen Breyer declined the request.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined again, this time to hear an appeal of the case.

“We are gratified that the United States Supreme Court denied Calvary Chapel’s petition," Frey said in a statement. "There have been no restrictions on the size of gatherings for more than four months and Calvary Chapel has been free to conduct its services however it sees fit. Its petition was a waste of public and judicial resources, and the court properly rejected it.”

Graves did not immediately return a request for comment.