The Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, has barred restrictions on religious services in New York that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had put in place to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.
The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three liberal members in dissent.
The order was the first in which the court’s newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, played a decisive role.
The court’s ruling was at odds with earlier ones concerning churches in California and Nevada.
In those cases, decided in May and July, the court allowed the states’ governors to restrict religious services attendance.
However, there is a shift in the court’s position, and with the five conservatives Justices on the bench, liberals can expect a different direction in the court decisions from the past.
In one of the Justices’ written opinions, Justice Gorsuch noted that the pandemic does not give governors unfettered power.
“It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques,” Justice Gorsuch wrote.
Carol May, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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