Judge Amy Coney Barrett played a crucial role when the Supreme Court banned New York from enforcing corona virus restrictions on certain religious services.
The Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues in the Brooklyn and Queens districts of New York have sued for restricting attendance at houses of worship in areas harder hit by the virus.
The upper limit for participation was 10 and 25, respectively, in the red and orange zones, respectively. However, the decision will not have an immediate impact, as the two groups are in areas designated as yellow zones, where houses of worship can hold worship services at 50 percent of their maximum occupancy.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 against the implementation of the measures, with the newest member of the court, Barrett, casting a decisive vote. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and three liberal judges of the court disagreed.
The decision was at odds with decisions about capacity restrictions in the churches of California and Nevada earlier this year.
In these cases, when Barrett’s predecessor, the liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was in court, the judges voted 5-4 to leave restrictions on the governor’s religious services in place. Barrett was brought to court last month after the death of conservative and devout Catholic Ginsburg in September.
The court order filed two applications – one from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which covers Brooklyn and Queens, and the other from the American Agudath Israel, two synagogues and two others.
Both applications have argued that houses of worship are being treated unfairly by the New York Governor’s government’s executive order imposing new state restrictions last month.
The synagogues argued that the governor’s restrictions singled out the Orthodox Jewish community. The Cuomo “generally did not attack religious beliefs, but singled out a separate religion for the mistake and retaliation for the flare-up in the epidemic of society as a whole,” he claimed.
New York says religious services are treated more favorably than secular gatherings with a similar risk of infection, such as concerts and theater performances, which have been completely banned.
But the majority of the court agreed, unsigned, that the Cuomo’s restrictions violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free practice of religion.
“The members of the Court are not public health experts and we must respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” he said. “But even in the event of a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be repealed and forgotten.”
According to the unanimous opinion of Neil Gorsuch on judicial opinion, Cuomo treated religious practices much more strictly than secular activities.
“It is time – past time – to make it clear that although the pandemic poses a number of serious challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive decrees that reopen liquor stores and bicycle shops but shuttered churches, synagogues and mosques, “wrote.
In a separate opinion, Roberts said the measures “seem unreasonably restrictive,” but added that “it is a significant issue to override the decisions of public health officials that are necessary for public safety in the midst of a fatal epidemic.”
In another disagreement, Justice President Sonia Sotomayor, with the accession of Justice President Elena Kagan, said she feared the verdict would “only exacerbate the nation’s suffering.”
“Judges at the Court are playing a deadly game in the secondary invention of health officials’ expert judgment of the environments in which an infectious virus is spreading, which now infects one million Americans a week.” – written by.
He added: “Free religious practice is one of our most valuable and jealously preserved constitutional rights. States must not discriminate against religious institutions, even if they face a deadly crisis like this. But these principles are not at stake today.
“The Constitution does not prohibit states from responding to public health crises with regulations that treat religious institutions the same or more favorably than similar secular institutions, especially if those regulations save lives. Because the restrictions in COVID-19 in New York are just they do so, I respectfully disagree. “