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9th Circuit Nominee Lucy Koh Defends Pandemic Antitrust Rulings

 |  October 7, 2021

Federal appeals court nominee Lucy Koh on Wednesday, October 6, appearing for her US Senate confirmation hearing, defended a key ruling she wrote upholding pandemic-related restrictions in California concerning religious activity, reported Reuters. 

Koh, nominated to serve on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, faced criticism from US Senate Republican members of the judiciary committee over her February ruling that said California could ban small religious gatherings in homes as a measure to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. A divided US Supreme Court later struck down that decision as an improper curb on in-home religious services.

Senate Democrats broadly praised Koh’s long career in the law and her service on the federal trial bench. Koh would become the first Korean-American woman to serve on a federal appeals court if she is confirmed.

“The right to religious liberty is one of the most fundamental, foundational rights in our country,” Koh said in exchange with US Senator Mike Lee, the Utah Republican, who questioned whether Koh had given more deference to permitted commercial activities than she did to religious exercise rights.

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