- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday said he “couldn’t be more proud” that the Justice Department stood up for a Virginia church that had been sanctioned for violating social distancing rules when it held a Palm Sunday service last month.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Justice Department for standing up with that Virginia church that’s challenging Governor [Ralph] Northam’s ban on in-person religious services,” Mr. Pence said.

“The liberties enshrined in the Constitution still apply to every American, even in the middle of a national emergency,” the vice president told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “And President Trump and our entire administration have championed religious liberty of every American of every faith.”

The Justice Department this week filed a statement of interest in a legal case brought by a Virginia church that says it was cited for holding a 16-person Palm Sunday church service in a facility that seats about 250 people.

Attorney General William P. Barr last week had directed federal prosecutors to be on the lookout for coronavirus-related state restrictions that encroach on constitutional rights.

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