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June 10, 2022

Sixth Circuit Renders Moot A Private Religious School’s Lawsuit Claiming That The State’s COVID-19 Mask Mandate Violated Its Right To The Free Exercise Of Religion

In Resurrection Sch. v. Hertel, the Sixth Circuit declined to opine thewhether mask mandates in religious schools violate the right to the free exercise of religion.  The court en banc held that both the underlying case and appeal were moot due to the State having rescinded the mask mandate citing COVID-19 vaccines; better therapeutics; lower case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths; and the “warmer weather.” The Sixth Circuit found that the Voluntary Cessation and Capable of Repetition Yet Evading Review exceptions to the mootness doctrine were inapplicable because, among other things, the Court saw no reasonable possibility that the State would impose a mandate “similar” enough to the previous mandate. However, with COVID cases currently on the rise again, the possibility remains that the State will restore the mandate, ripening this case for review.

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