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January 1, Federal Judge Blocks Limits on Religious Gatherings



This Day in History | 1775

The Revolutionary War begins with the battles of Lexington and Concord.

There’s more evidence today that the government’s ability to limit religious gatherings even in the name of public safety.  At issue here is the First Amendment. And the U.S. Supreme Courts long-standing tradition of roundling rejecting prior restraint.  

Also, we’ve heard a lot about the dangers facing law enforcement these days from COVID-19, but sadly today, we have a story out of Texas that shows another deadly consequence of millions of Americans being locked down under quarantine, an increase in domestic violence calls. Ask any cop, and they will tell you these calls are the toughest. And it looks one one of those calls ended with one San Marcos police officer dead and two others shot.

What will the future look like? A lot of people want to know and as uncertain as things are right, now – there is one thing we can rely on. A lot of companies and individuals are about to start declaring bankruptcy. Today’s case in point is Neiman Marcus plans to declare bankruptcy this week according to Reuters. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Federal Judge Blocks Kansas Limits on Religious Gatherings

(NBC News) – A federal judge on Saturday blocked Kansas from limiting attendance at in-person religious worship services or activities to 10 people or fewer to check the spread of the coronavirus, signaling he believes there’s a good chance the policy violates religious freedom and free speech rights.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge John Broomes in Wichita prevents the enforcement of an order issued by Gov. Laura Kelly if pastors and congregations observe social distancing. The judge’s decision will remain in effect until May 2. He has a hearing scheduled Wednesday in a lawsuit filed against Kelly by two churches and their pastors.

Broomes’ action comes amid strong criticism of the Democratic governor’s order from the Republican-controlled Legislature and increasing pressure from GOP lawmakers to lift at least part of a stay-at-home order for all 2.9 million Kansas residents that took effect March 30 and is set to continue until May 3.

It also comes as the number of coronavirus cases and COVID-19-related deaths continue to rise in Kansas.

Learn more here

TX: One Cop Killed, Two Others Shot While Responding to Domestic Violence Call

(San Marcos Daily Record) – One San Marcos Police officer was killed and two are currently undergoing surgery after investigating an incident near Hunter Road, according to Charley Wilkison, executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. 

According to Wilkison, three officers were shot after responding to a family violence call. Two SMPD officers are currently undergoing surgery with one in critical condition. The suspect died at the scene. 

Find out more here

Neiman Marcus to File for Bankruptcy as Soon as this Week

(Reuters) – Neiman Marcus Group is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection as soon as this week, becoming the first major U.S. department store operator to succumb to the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, people familiar with the matter said.

The debt-laden Dallas-based company has been left with few options after the pandemic forced it to temporarily shut all 43 of its Neiman Marcus locations, roughly two dozen Last Call stores and its two Bergdorf Goodman stores in New York. 

Neiman Marcus is in the final stages of negotiating a loan with its creditors totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, which would sustain some of its operations during bankruptcy proceedings, according to the sources. It has also furloughed many of its roughly 14,000 employees. 

The bankruptcy filing could come within days, though the timing could slip, the sources said. Neiman Marcus skipped millions of dollars in debt payments last week, including one that only gave the company a few days to avoid a default.

Learn more here

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