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ADF attorney to argue before 6th Circuit in favor of lifting Michigan mask mandate for religious schools

John Bursch available to media following oral arguments
C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch

WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Resurrection School v. Hertel

WHEN: Immediately after hearing, which begins at 2 p.m. EST, Wednesday, March 9

WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, 100 East Fifth St., Cincinnati; hearing is also available by live-stream. Media not attending in person may contact ADF Media Relations Manager AnnMarie Pariseau at 480-417-3975 to schedule an interview.

CINCINNATI – Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch will be available for media interviews Wednesday immediately following oral arguments at the 6th Circuit in Resurrection School v. Hertel, a case challenging Michigan health officials for subjecting religious school students to a mask mandate to which other private entities are no longer subject.

On Monday, the court granted ADF attorneys’ request to participate in oral arguments after they filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Resurrection School and two families whose children attend the school.

“When the government allows spas, tattoo parlors, and restaurants to decide whether they want to wear masks, it must give the same right to religious schools,” said Bursch, who will argue before the court on behalf of the school. “It’s legally baseless to say that private schools can’t make their own decisions regarding masks. Michigan’s health officials are unfairly punishing these schools and hindering kids’ ability to receive a religious education. We urge the governor and the Department of Health to swiftly uphold Resurrection School’s constitutional right to freely exercise their religious beliefs and teaching.”

As the friend-of-the-court brief filed in the case explained, “the masks distracted children from their religious education, and the policy conflicted with parents’ rights ‘to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions….’ This Court should hold that Michigan’s mask-mandate exemptions impact the State’s interest in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the same manner whether applied to spas, tattoo parlors, and restaurants on the one hand, or religious-school students on the other.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.


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