Priest Sues California Gov. Gavin Newsom over Church Shutdowns

Priest Sues California Gov. Gavin Newsom over Church Shutdowns


A Catholic priest has filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) claiming the governor’s “state of emergency,” seven-month-long pandemic shutdown violates his constitutional rights.

The Thomas More Society filed the lawsuit September 29 in Superior Court in the Metro Division of Kern County on behalf of Rev. Trevor Burfitt, who is claiming eight distinct violations of his rights under the California Constitution.

Besides Newsom, the lawsuit names as defendants Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Department of Public Health Director Sandra Shewry, and other state, county, and municipal officials.

According to the lawsuit, Burfitt is a non-diocesan priest who belongs to an international society of priests and oversees mission churches with Catholic congregations in Kern, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties.

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Burfitt argues his work has been severely restricted during Newsom’s lockdown of California.

The lawsuit claims Burfitt’s ministry has been affected by the total ban on

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