North Dakota Senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven recently joined Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and more than 30 additional senators, in signing an amicus brief supporting Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s lawsuit against Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in regards to the city’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) regulations prohibiting outdoor religious gatherings to not exceed more than 100 individuals. The senators argue that several mass protests have been permitted in recent months and the selective enforcement against the church violates First Amendment rights and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The Senators said, “Whether viewed as a matter of free speech, the freedom of assembly, or the free exercise of religion protected by the Constitution and RFRA, the result is the same: The Mayor’s discrimination against houses of worship rests on a mistaken, and unconstitutional, premise that one particular exercise of free speech—a church’s desire to gather together and worship their God—is subordinate to other First Amendment-protected activities.”
In addition to Hoeven and Wicker, the amicus brief was signed by U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John Thune, R-S.D., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., James E. Risch, R-Idaho, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, John Boozman, R-Ark., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Bill Cassidy, R-La., James Lankford, R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Steve Daines, R-Mont., David Perdue, R-Ga., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., John Kennedy, R-La., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Mike Braun, R-Ind., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.