A huge win in the United States Supreme Court for New Yorkers and conservatives everywhere as the SCOTUS put a stop to Cuomos Draconian shut down and added restrictions to citizens abilities to worship freely.
The Supreme Court blocked New York from imposing strict limits on attendance at religious services to combat Covid-19, with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett casting the pivotal vote to depart from past cases that deferred to state authorities on public-health measures.
In orders issued shortly 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.
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 court found it troubling that businesses the state considered “essential” weren’t subject to the same occupancy limits. Those included “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.”
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, in addition to Justice Barrett, made up the majority.
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