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State Supreme Court Rules Against Immanuel, Clovis Christian Schools



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The state Supreme Court denied a petition to keep schools open and overrule the state’s emergency order closing them down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two private Valley schools, Immanuel Schools of Reedley and Clovis Christian Schools, were among nine plaintiffs seeking to overturn the order.

The court did not hold a hearing on the case. Both sides filed briefs and responses in recent weeks.

The court issued a one-page ruling denying the petition for an immediate stay and peremptory write of mandate.

A state Supreme Court spokesman explained that the decision was made in the court’s weekly conference. It could be considered one in the same that the court refused to review the case and thus ruled on its merits. At least four justices would need to approve granting a review which it did not receive.
Both attorneys in the case, Jennifer Bursch for the plaintiffs, and Fresno County counsel Daniel Cederborg, said their was no opinion included in the decision.

As part of his COVID-19 emergency orders, Gov. Gavin Newsom deemed that schools could not hold in-person instruction as long as it was in a county that was under coronavirus monitoring.

Fresno County schools are prohibited from re-opening their campuses because of the county’s high number of positive COVID tests and hospitalization rate.

Supporters Not Deterred

In an email statement, attorneys for the plaintiffs vow to fight on.

“This court entry has no effect of law. It simply means that we will have to start the litigation by filing our claims in the superior courts because the court is not willing to permit this case to skip the lower courts. Once we proceed through the normal process, we believe we will still be victorious in the end,” the schools’ attorney Robert Tyler said.

A similar version of the statement was initially posted on the Facebook page of Advocates for Faith & Freedom.

“No public or elected official should have the authority to have unbridled discretion to deny children their fundamental right to equal protection and access to equal education,” Tyler said.

Fellow attorney Jennifer Bursch said:

“The Court’s denial of our petition for review is disappointing and while we have not yet exactly decided our next move, be assured we are prepared to continue fighting for the rights of the vulnerable children of California.”

Fresno County did not have a comment when asked by GV Wire℠.

County Case Ongoing

Immanuel Schools reopened last month despite state and local health orders preventing such action. The county sought a temporary restraining order to close the school, which was denied by Fresno County Superior Court judge D. Tyler Tharpe on Aug. 25.

“(Fresno County) has failed to make a sufficient affirmative factual showing of urgency for this matter to be heard on an ex parte basis,” Tharpe wrote.

Ex parte refers to having a hearing where only one party needs to prove its case, in this instance Fresno County’s request for an emergency order shutting down Immanuel.

Tharpe will hold a hearing for the county’s full request to close Immanuel — known as an Order to Show Cause — on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Read Supreme Court Decision

The one page order that came in today from the California Supreme Court:



Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email