The timeliness of President Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has never been so apparent as in the court’s most recent ruling.
On Wednesday evening, the high court granted an emergency injunction request from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the Agudath Israel of America against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) limitations on religious gatherings in the state — a major win for religious freedom in the US.
The court decided in a 5-4 decision mostly along party lines — with supposed “moderate” Chief Justice John Roberts breaking siding with the liberal justices — that Cuomo can no longer implement attendance caps of religious services in the state.
Democrat governors across the nation have targeted religious institutions and services in their orders, bringing up a contentious argument about the limits of religious freedom in the nation.
“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 judges in the majority wrote.
“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,” the conservative justices continued.
Though the court’s ruling is a win for the protection of religious freedom in the nation, it is somewhat disturbing to note that only one vote stood in the way of the nation’s highest court setting a precedent that could change the interpretation of the first amendment permanently.
Cuomo responded to the injunction by calling the ruling “irrelevant” and “moot” because the institutions that requested the ruling in the first place are no longer designated as high-risk, and any restrictions would no longer apply to them regardless of the ruling.