SCOTUS blocks Cuomo’s limits on religious services, huge win for the 1st Amendment


“Even if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical.”

~ Justice Gorsuch

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo loses to Catholics, Jews, and the 1st Amendment. He can no longer inflict attendance limits on religious services. It is again up to the people to decide.

The Supreme Court blocked New York from imposing strict limits on attendance at religious services to combat Covid-19.

This is Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s first prominent case, reflecting the influence she will have on the court’s decisions. She cast the deciding vote to depart from past cases that allowed state authorities to do whatever arbitrary thing they wanted on public-health measures.  Chief Justice Roberts voted with the three liberals [leftists] and against the Constitution.

The order came in before midnight Wednesday. The court, in a 5-4 vote, set aside attendance limits that Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed on houses of worship in areas most severely affected by the coronavirus: 10 people in red zones and 25 in orange zones. Chief Justice John Roberts and three liberal justices dissented.

New York’s Cuomo classifies places where coronavirus infections are of increasing severity as yellow, orange, or red.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization, alleged that the limits violated their First Amendment rights of religious exercise.


The Supreme Court’s unsigned opinion found that the religious plaintiffs were likely to prevail and, overruling federal courts in New York, suspended the governor’s orders while the litigation proceeds.

The court was troubled that businesses the state considered “essential” weren’t subject to the same occupancy limits. They mentioned “things such as acupuncture facilities, campgrounds, garages, as well as many whose services are not limited to those that can be regarded as essential, such as all plants manufacturing chemicals and microelectronics and all transportation facilities,” the court said.

“Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” the opinion said. But New York’s restrictions “strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

In their argument, New York tried to say that houses of worship were treated less restrictively than activities it considered comparable. Those activities included lectures, concerts, cinemas, sporting events, and theaters, which were shuttered.

The liberal [leftist] claim “Justices of this Court play a deadly game in second-guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan.

Cuomo can still make strong recommendations. Religious services can require masking and social distancing. He just can’t come up with arbitrary attendance numbers, especially while arbitrarily deciding what is essential and what is not.



Justice Gorsuch’s opinion harshly criticized the court’s previous approach.

“It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques,” he wrote.

Chief Justice Roberts, in dissent, said there was no need to act now because, since the suit was filed, the areas involved had been reclassified as yellow zones, which were subject to a 50% occupancy limit without a numerical limit.

Steven Mazie [correspondent for left-wing mag The Economist],  obviously doesn’t agree with the opinion in the tweet below, calling Gorsuch ‘sanctimonious.’ It is now sanctimonious to follow the Constitution. Liberals have a cure for that. They plan to use the National Popular Vote to stack the court if Republicans lose the Senate.

Gorsuch, coming from the perspective of the Constitution, says if you can’t make the distinction between the risk level of a small business like a liquor store and a massive indoor gathering like a church with regard to a raging pandemic, you are more scientifically illiterate than the man who appointed you.

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Because We Live Here
Because We Live Here
3 years ago

God given rights don’t get abrogated by order of petty tyrant statist utopian dullards.
The same is true of the 2nd amendment.
The low level rolling Civil War will make the 2nd more valuable than ever as we fundamentally transform into a CCP serf colony.

The Prisoner
The Prisoner
3 years ago

This is a great development, and indicates the new court will act with a majority not including Roberts. The focus on the Constitution by the majority gives hope for upcoming election rulings. The minority seems to engage in sophistry. I favor friction with turncoat Roberts. The left must be countered.