Governor’s Phase-2 Rules Are Likely Unconstitutional
Burdens Churches With Special Restrictions Not Imposed Elsewhere
Providence, RI – One day after America celebrated Memorial Day to honor those who sacrificed for our freedoms, including religious liberty, the Flanders Legal Center for Freedom issued an open letter to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo urging her to rescind existing orders and to amend any contemplated orders and regulations that discriminate against churches and church-goers.
To avoid a potential legal challenge to the State, the letter from the Flanders Legal Center for Freedom, an initiative of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, advises that the religious community must be provided with the same opportunities to safely assemble (and worship) that are provided to secular entities.
“Your … recent public statements that indoor restaurants and other secular venues may re-open at up to 50% of their capacity, while churches and other faith-based venues may only re-open at a 25% capacity … are unconstitutional,” writes Robert G. Flanders, author of the letter and chairman of the legal center. “Today, we call on you to amend your orders to recognize the essential services provided by our churches.”
Earlier this month, the Flanders Legal Center published a legal analysis addressing the many legal limits of the Governor’s emergency powers under the law.
Flanders, a board member of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, is a practicing attorney and former Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The legal center’s volunteer team is also composed of attorneys Matthew Fabisch, Richard MacAdams, and Patrick Reynolds.
The nonpartisan Flanders Legal Center expects to provide ongoing legal commentary, submit friend of the court briefs, and potentially engage in select litigation cases.
The media is invited to contact the Center to arrange for interviews with former Judge Flanders.