A brief moment of relief from SCOTUS for religious liberty in Brooklyn

Here’s something to be thankful for.  On Wednesday night the SCOTUS granted the request of the Diocese of Brooklyn and two synagogues to block enforcement of NY state’s killer-in-chief and highest executive thug Gov. Cuomo to restrict religious worship.   The thug’s executive order violated the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment.  Meanwhile litigation will continue at the 2nd Circuit US Court of Appeals.  HERE

Per curiam

The Court was, of course, divided.  Guess how.   No, really… I know you already know.

Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett (hurray!) v. Roberts, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan.

In his opinion Gorsuch wrote: “if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical.”

Kavanuagh seemed to say that if the region were considered a Wuhan Devil “red” zone rather than its present lower zone, then maybe it would be different.   (I’m not sure why.)

Increasingly disappointing Roberts gave us this waffle: “And it may well be that such restrictions violate the Free Exercise Clause. It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question at this time. The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not.”

Sotomayor had a moment of clarity, writing that states “may not discriminate against religious institutions, even when faced with a crisis as deadly as this one. But those principles are not at stake today.”

What was at stake was the enforcement of the (unconstitutional) executive order while it is being challenged.

Gorsuch wrote (this is good):

“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…. 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.”

I wonder who wrote this in the per curiam:

“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 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.”

Justices and judges have to follow the law.

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  1. Semper Gumby says:

    Good news from the Supreme Court. 5-4 is rather weak, but a victory is a victory. Good point by Justice Gorsuch.

    Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

    “And it may well be that such restrictions violate the Free Exercise Clause.”

    That’s no small thing. The Free Exercise Clause, as others have noted, affirms the fundamental role of religion in American culture and the health of the Republic.

    Fr. Neuhaus gets to the heart of the matter: Politics is chiefly a function of culture, at the heart of culture is morality, and at the heart of morality is religion.

    Dismiss Free Exercise and you might as well pack up the Supreme Court, turn off the lights and make way for godless despotism.

    “It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question at this time.”

    Well, then apply common sense. American citizens, mature adults who can make decisions for themselves, are attending synagogue and church during a pandemic that may be in a second wave but is clearly less serious than eight months ago. Praising God and seeking His blessings should be encouraged- the Founders clearly thought so. Can’t make it any simpler than that.

    “The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not.”

    Be a man, Roberts. Take a stand. Be spiritually and situationally aware. Cuomo is a mass murderer and recently blasted those police officers refusing to enforce indoor mask diktats as “not law enforcement officers.” Don’t wring your hands about what Cuomo may or may not do. Do your duty, and what American citizens are paying you to do and expect you to do, and defend the Constitution and the fundamental right of religious liberty.

    The more the First Amendment is undermined the more valuable is the Second Amendment.

    Deo Gratias for a 5-4 victory.

    A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  2. acardnal says:

    Roberts is the new Justice Kennedy. Both Catholic and both swing votes on the court.

  3. anotherphilothea says:

    Here in Oregon we were also handed a victory for religious freedom yesterday, when our uber-liberal Governor revised her restrictions, effective Dec 3. After we finish the “two week pause” she inflicted on the entire state, religious services will be allowed for up to 25% building capacity, up to 100 people – previously, churches in urban areas had a limit of 50, before she dropped it to 25 statewide last week. Archbishop Sample was instrumental in making this happen, and many of the faithful flooded her office with letters and calls. The fact that she listened and responded so swiftly is nothing short of miraculous. We are very thankful.

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    I laughed really hard last night when the story broke about the mayor of Denver, Colorado. Even with the restrictions imposed in Denver, the mayor and his family flew to Mississippi to have Thanksgiving with relatives.

    The mayor did issue a statement about why he made this decision for both him and his family.

  5. WVC says:

    A wise old man told me a saying of his father’s. “Never trust a man that smiles like a Jackass eating briars.”

    I’ll leave it to you to search for pictures of John Roberts smiling.

  6. AA Cunningham says:

    the mayor and his family flew to Mississippi to have Thanksgiving with relatives. hwriggles4

    Slight correction. The mayor, Michael Hancock, flew to Houston to then travel to Mississippi where his wife and daughter are staying/living. No intrepid members of the Denver DLEMM – Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media – have asked Hancock – who was linked to an escort service prior to his first election – and who was caught texting inappropriate messages to a female police detective on his security detail – why he and his wife are not living together. Also, there has been no mention of where his son Jordan – who has had several run ins with law enforcement officers in the Denver metro area – spent Thanksgiving.

    Michael Hancock – the latest in a series of 24K cons/grifters/phonies/crooks to serve as Mayor of Denver – is the manifestation of the adage behind every double standard lies an unconfessed single standard

  7. pjthom81 says:

    A few words regarding Chief Justice Roberts….

    I wish to preface my comments by stating emphatically that I do not agree with his jurisprudence, however I understand it since I have known attorneys who share his views. I am posting here since (a) I think everyone deserves to be critiqued on their merits, and (b) I think it is important to understand him to make an honest critique of his rulings.

    He is not another Kennedy. He is in many regards the polar opposite to Kennedy. Kennedy was a libertarian…and I’m sure we’ve all known some people of these views who tend to be fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. The common denominator is a distrust of government exercise of power. Therefore Kennedy was with Originalists on Obamacare but against them on abortion and on other social matters.

    Roberts is a little more complex, however his jurisprudence has quite a history. When Roberts appeared before the judiciary committee, he cited Jackson and Frankfurter as some of his model justices. These two justices were not Originalists….they were conservative New Dealers appointed by FDR. Originalists (comprising the 5 in the majority this time) are basically the descendants of the Federalists (and this is in fact the reason the Originalist lawyer association is called the Federalist Society). The jurisprudence is simple….enforce the Constitution as the various provisions were originally intended to be enforced. Not being an activist means just that….interpret the Constitution as written.

    The conservative New Dealers (and the last one prior to Roberts was Justice Byron White) would agree with not being a judicial activist, but they would define it differently. They would instead define non-activism as not overturning someone else’s interpretation of the Constitution. There is something very Jeffersonian in this view in that the judges that adhere to this view tend to be skeptical as to why the Courts should have a greater say than the other branches as to what is Constitutional. FDR liked this sort of a judge since this sort of judge was likely to let the various New Deal programs stand. There was a far lesser level of scrutiny. This sort of judge, and the term Minimalist may be a good one…..was predominant in the Court from around 1940 until Frankfurter retired in 1963. This sort of judge would be more likely to let something like Obamacare stand, but they would also be more inclined to let abortion restrictions stand. My view is that Roberts fits this general profile.

    But wait….didn’t Roberts vote to strike down an abortion restriction in Louisiana? Yes but some small print applied. (The decision was only made on the basis of stare decisis, the undue burden announced in Casey is to be strictly construed, and the undue burden test itself is, according to the Chief, ripe for review and, one supposes, editing.) The fact that Kennedy and Roberts found themselves on opposite ends regarding both Obamacare and homosexual unions seems to confirm my suspicions. Kennedy was a moderate who would tend to pull fiscally more conservative but socially more liberal. Roberts appears to be the opposite in his tendency. Roberts’ philosophy is, however, one that calls for very, very slow movement.

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