Pastor Art Hodges addresses worshipers at South Bay United Pentecostal Church during a Christmastime service. Photo via Facebook @SouthBayPentecostal.

A federal appeals court panel Tuesday ordered a lower court to reconsider its ruling against a Chula Vista church’s challenge to California’s COVID-19 restrictions on indoor worship services.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant’s Oct. 15 order denying South Bay United Pentecostal Church‘s request for a preliminary injunction and ordered further consideration of its request.

The panel based its action on recent U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of houses of worship challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus-related restrictions and a Pasadena-based church challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictions.

The church called the action a “major victory,” saying in a Facebook post on Tuesday night, “The guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court makes it abundantly clear that California’s restrictions on houses of worship are blatantly unconstitutional. We are confident that South Bay will fully vindicate its fundamental constitutional rights in short order.”

— From Staff and Wire Reports

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.