The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to limit religious congregations from gathering in certain Covid “red zones” in the city. Under Cuomo’s order, churches, synagogues, and mosques in certain Covid hot spots could only meet at “25% of their capacity or 10 people, whichever is fewer,” but liquor stores and bike shops could remain fully open. The court ruled that his order was in violation of the First Amendment:
“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. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”Supreme Court majority opinion statement
The Right agrees with the Supreme Court. “This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for President @realDonaldTrump’s appointment of 3 conservative #SCOTUS justices who ruled last night in favor of churches & against gov’t overreach in the state of New York,” tweeted the Reverend Franklin Graham, son of former Reverend Billy Graham. Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative, wrote, “So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians. Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”
“A major win for any American who cherishes our religious liberty. Andrew Cuomo and Democrat elected officials have acted as totalitarians, using COVID19 to strip the people of NY of their fundamental right to worship. Today, the Court said enough is enough.”Ted Cruz, Texas State Senator
“The Constitution is NOT a suggestion, & religious freedom should still be upheld across every community in our nation. Tonight, the U.S. Supreme Court…affirmed our commitment to religious freedom,” stated Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ).
The Left agrees with Governor Cuomo and says it is the fault of “the president” and “president’s justices” that the “health crisis persists.” Democratic political strategist Kaivan Shroff tweeted, “Supreme Court votes 5-4 to block Gov. Cuomo from reimposing strict capacity caps on Catholic churches in New York. Unqualified Justice Amy Coney Barrett tipped the outcome to the conservatives. As expected, Barrett’s only pro-life when it comes to the unborn. Disgraceful.” In a statement 24 hours after the announcement, the pope criticized “governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths” and praised government leaders taking “great efforts” to protect their citizens:
“Yet some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church
Daniel Mach, director of the progressive American Civil Liberties Union Program of Freedom of Religion and Belief, stated that religious liberty “does not include a license to harm others or endanger public health.”