Breaking Overnight: In the first major decision since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the United States Supreme Court, the court struck a blow for religious freedom by blocking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus restrictions on in-person attendance at religious services.
“The Supreme Court late Wednesday night barred restrictions on religious services in New York that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had imposed to combat the coronavirus,” according to The New York Times.
“The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The order was the first in which the court’s newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, played a decisive role. [emphasis added]
“The court’s ruling was at odds with earlier ones concerning churches in California and Nevada. In those cases, decided in May and July, the court allowed the states’ governors to restrict attendance at religious services.
“The Supreme Court’s membership has changed since then, with Justice Barrett succeeding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. The vote in the earlier cases was also 5 to 4, but in the opposite direction, with Chief Justice Roberts joining Justice Ginsburg and the other three members of what was then the court’s four-member liberal wing.”
“In an unsigned opinion, the majority said Mr. Cuomo’s restrictions violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. [emphasis added]
“In a concurring opinion, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said Mr. Cuomo had treated secular activities more favorably than religious ones.
“‘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,’ Justice Gorsuch wrote.” [emphasis added]
Please share your thoughts in the comment section on this page. Do you believe the Supreme Court was correct in blocking Cuomo’s COVID19 restrictions on church services? Do you believe Justice Amy Coney Barrett will play a major role on the Court for many years to come?
Just before midnight on the night before Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court blocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from enforcing attendance limits at religious services. The vote is 5-4, with Roberts and the three liberals dissenting.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) November 26, 2020