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Louisiana Supreme Court Rules Governor’s Church Edict Unconstitutional

Justices Rule with AG Jeff Landry, Dismiss Criminal Charges Against Pastor

NEW ORLEANS, LA – In a major victory for religious freedom in Louisiana, the State Supreme Court has ruled with Attorney General Jeff Landry in declaring that Governor John Bel Edwards’ mandates closing churches cannot be the basis to prosecute a governor-created crime of letting too many people into church for worship.

In State v. Spell, the highest court of Louisiana ruled “In this criminal proceeding, we find certain provisions of two executive orders, as applied to defendant, violate his fundamental right to exercise religion, do not survive strict scrutiny, and are thus unconstitutional.”

In response to their decision to end the criminal prosecution of a pastor for allegedly violating capacity limits at his church in the early months of the pandemic, Attorney General Landry praised the majority for upholding the constitutionally-protected right to worship.

“Once again, this Governor’s overreach has been defeated in court. While it is unfortunate that it took almost two years, I am appreciative that John Bel’s unconstitutional actions have been halted by the court. This is a victory for the separation of powers and our free exercise clause. What’s more: it is a great highlight of John Bel’s hypocrisy – punishing prayer service but not food service at a mall.”


A copy of the Louisiana Supreme Court’s opinion may be found at