On Nov. 25, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn in its case against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his strict coronavirus lockdown orders.
The plaintiffs sought emergency relief from Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.68, which placed occupancy limits of 10 individuals on churches and synagogues in areas most impacted by COVID-19, and 25 for those located in slightly less affected areas.
Below is a copy of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case.
In his concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered a scathing rebuke to the New York governor.
“The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as ‘essential’ as what happens in secular spaces,” Gorsuch wrote. “Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all ‘essential’ while traditional religious exercises are not.
“That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.”
Ignoring this ruling, California’s far-left governor, Gavin Newsom, has issued some new rules of his own.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “for counties in high-risk areas, which covers most of the state, the governor is forbidding all indoor worship services … while allowing 25% indoor attendance in moderate-risk counties.”
According to the paper, a California church group, including “Harvest Rock Church of Pasadena and Harvest International Ministry, which is affiliated with 162 California churches,” has filed a request for “immediate court intervention” against the new state restrictions on religious gatherings.
Newsom refuses to lift his restrictions and has, in fact, doubled down. The state attorney general’s office, led by Xavier Becerra, has issued a filing to the Supreme Court arguing that, due to the surge in coronavirus cases and the “perils of lengthy indoor gatherings with singing and chanting,” the new limitations are warranted.
“California is experiencing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, creating an even greater public health need for restrictions on prolonged communal gatherings in indoor places,” the filing reads. “Scientific evidence demonstrates why those activities pose a particularly grave threat of virus transmission during the current pandemic.”
In May, the Supreme Court ruled against a California church that challenged Newsom’s attendance limitations.
The difference between then and now was the replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
It’s notable that in May, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled in favor of the California governor who issued what many of us believe to be unconstitutional orders.
Although Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush, he has become a reliably liberal vote.
The Chronicle reported that the California church group, whose case is currently “awaiting a ruling in the Ninth U.S. Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco,” has “already asked the Supreme Court to step into their cases … and strike down Newsom’s current restrictions.”
Attorney Thomas LiMandri of the Thomas More Society, who represents one of the California churches, said, “We cannot afford to let tyranny against religion rise in the guise of well-meaning governmental ‘protections.'”
In a not so surprising move, it was reported that the state’s limited stay-at-home order will not extend to the film industry.
According to Deadline, the stay-at-home order — “requiring generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the purple tier” — does not apply to the entertainment industry. Workers in that industry “remain on the list of essential workers and thus are an exception to the rule.”
“With the coronavirus surging in the state, the City and County of Los Angeles have placed new limits on after-hours filming,” Deadline reported. “FilmLA, the local film permit office, said that these new limits prohibit after-hours on-location film activity in conformance with the state’s Limited Stay at Home Order.”
In an update, FilmLA announced that “these limits will apply until lifted, and for at least the duration of the State of California’s Limited Stay at Home Order, which currently expires on Dec. 21, 2020.”
Four hours later, FilmLA appeared to rescind that order: “Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles have advised FilmLA that filming will not be restricted to the hours between 5 a.m. / 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., as previously announced.”
Leave it to hypocrite Gavin Newsom to stand up for his friends in Hollywood as he fights to curtail the rights of those wishing to attend religious services.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.