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Department of Justice sends Gov. Sisolak letter about churches

Posted at 11:16 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 09:38:32-04

MAY 28: The Department of Justice sent the following after Gov. Sisolak's announcement about Phase 2 reopening, which includes churches.

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband and U.S. Attorney for Nevada Nick Trutanich issued the following statement:

"We thank Governor Steve Sisolak for considering the concerns about religious liberty in Nevada, and commend him for extending religious freedom protections to people of faith as part of Phase 2 of the Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery. We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor as we work to balance civil liberties and public safety through the process of reopening. The Department of Justice will continue to prioritize Attorney General Barr’s Memorandum regarding Balancing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights."

Gov. Steve Sisolak has received a letter from the Department of Justice about churches.

The letter was written by Nevada U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich and U.S. Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Deibrand.

PREVIOUS STORY: The debate over churches reopening continues in Nevada

The attorneys say that Sisolak's directive to close churches may violate the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment, which says that Congress can not make laws prohibiting the practice of religion.

The letter mentions that restaurants and hair salons were allowed to reopen although churches have not been.

Sisolak is holding a press conference at 5:30 p.m. to talk about Phase 2 of reopening plans for Nevada. Although he is expected to talk about casinos reopening on June 4, it is not known if he will specifically talk about churches.


President Trump announced that churches are essential last week.