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COVID New York: Supreme Court ruling on New York’s coronavirus restrictions on places of worship

Washington (WABC)-Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling by calling the blocking of COVID restrictions on religious services “irrelevant.”

At the end of Wednesday, SCOTUS banned New York from imposing certain restrictions on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as heavily affected by the virus, as cases of coronavirus surged nationwide again.

The judges split 5 to 4, with the majority being the new judge Amy Coney Barrett. This was the first vote as a judge publicly recognized by the Conservative Party. Three liberal judges in the court and Supreme Court judge John Roberts objected.

This move was a court shift. Earlier this year, when Barrett’s liberal predecessor, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was still in court, the judge split into 5-4 and pandemic-related capacity limits affecting churches in California and Nevada. I left.

Related | Brooklyn Parish Challenges New York State Capacity Limit in Supreme Court

Mr Cuomo said SCOTUS made a political decision “irrelevant to practical consequences” because the religious institution that filed the proceedings was no longer restricted.

“In the first place, the decision is not final,” Cuomo said. “It returns to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, so there isn’t even a final legal decision.”

Instead, he said a conservative majority of courts had the opportunity to make ideological claims.

“You have another court,” the governor said. “And I think that was the court’s remark.”

Kuomo added that he “has full respect for religion,” but he wants to keep people safe, especially during the holiday season.

Catholic and orthodox Jewish groups who challenged the restrictions are no longer the subject of them, thus reducing the effects of court proceedings.

The Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Agdat Israel in the United States have churches and synagogues in the areas of Brooklyn and Queens, formerly designated as red and orange zones. In these red and orange zones, the state restricted attendance to 10 and 25 places of worship, respectively. However, these particular areas are now designated as the Yellow Zone by the less restrictive rules that both groups have disputed.

The judge acted in an emergency and temporarily banned New York from imposing restrictions on the group while the proceedings continued. In an unsigned opinion, the court said the restrictions “select places of worship for particularly harsh treatment.”

Details: The meaning of each COVID zone in New York is as follows:

“Because the members of this court are not public health experts, we need to respect the judgment of those who have special expertise and responsibilities in this area, but even in the pandemic, the Constitution cannot be forgotten. The restrictions in question here effectively prohibit many people from participating in religious service and are at the heart of the guarantee of religious freedom through constitutional amendments. “

In the Red Zone, synagogues and churches cannot accommodate more than 10 people, but companies that are considered “essential”, from grocery stores to pet stores, can continue to operate with unlimited capacity. Also, in the Orange Zone, synagogues and churches have a capacity of 25 people, but “even non-essential companies can decide for themselves how many people they will accept.”

Roberts disagreed, writing that the court proceeding was “simply unnecessary.” “Neither of the places of worship specified in the application is currently subject to fixed numerical limits,” he said, and the 10- and 25-person limits in New York “seem to be overly limited.” Added.

“The governor may reinstate restrictions, but he may not, and invalidate the decisions made by public health authorities on what is needed for public security in the midst of a deadly pandemic. It’s an important issue to do, “he wrote.

Roberts and four other judges wrote separately to explain their views. I didn’t bullet.

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The court proceeding was the victory of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Jewish synagogue, which challenged the state restrictions announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on October 6.

The Brooklyn Diocese, which covers Brooklyn and Queens, claimed that the place of worship was unfairly selected by the governor’s executive order. The parish claimed that it was previously operated safely by taking measures such as limiting attendance to 25% of the building’s capacity. Part of Brooklyn and Queens is now in the Yellow Zone, and attendance at the place of worship is limited to 50% of the building’s capacity, but the church keeps attendance low.

In a statement, parish lawyer Randy Mastro said, “It is very quick and decisive for the Supreme Court to protect the free exercise of religion, one of our most basic constitutional rights. I am very grateful to have acted as. “

Cardinal Timothy Doran, Archbishop of New York, said, “I would like to congratulate @ BpDiMarzio and @BrooklynDiocese on winning religious freedom in the United States Supreme Court. Our church is essential. Protecting our community. It is also important to protect its basic constitutional rights, religious freedom, for all security protocols to do so. “

Avi Schick, an attorney at Agudath Israel in the United States, wrote in an email: “This is a historic victory. With this groundbreaking decision, religious practices and institutions are constitutional.”

Two lower courts upheld New York by allowing the restrictions to be maintained. New York argued that religious gatherings were less restrictive than secular gatherings with the same risk of infection, such as concerts and plays. The email sent by the Associated Press to the governor’s office early Thursday for comment was not immediately returned.

According to state websites that track areas designated as hotspots, New York currently has some areas designated as orange zones, but no red zones.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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COVID New York: Supreme Court ruling on New York’s coronavirus restrictions on places of worship

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