Gov. Cuomo launches attack on SCOTUS after ACB casts deciding vote to block restrictions on houses of worship

Should Joe Biden find his way to the White House as the nation’s next president, the 78-year-old Democrat was served a heaping helping preview of what the next four years may look like on Thanksgiving Eve, when the Supreme Court ruled against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 restrictions, limiting attendance at religious services.

A smug Cuomo dismissed the decision as “irrelevant,” before launching an attack on the nation’s highest court over its conservative makeup — after the four-year assault on the office of the president of the United States, Democrats attacking the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court comes as no surprise.

 

Late Wednesday, in a 5-4 ruling, the court decided in favor of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Orthodox Jewish synagogues, who said that they were being unfairly singled out by rules limiting attendance at religious services in places with extreme coronavirus outbreaks, which New York designated as red or orange zones.

Newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett cast the deciding vote, with the courts’ three liberal justices, plus Chief Justice John Roberts — this being a familiar refrain — dissenting in the case.

(The left slammed Barrett online, getting the hashtag #AmyCovidBarrett trending, and the right went after Roberts for once again letting them down.)

The Supreme Court said that Cuomo’s restrictions “are far more restrictive than any COVID–related regulations that have previously come before the Court,” adding that less restrictive measures could have been put in place to counter COVID-19.

In writing his concurrence to the per curiam order, Justice Neil Gorsuch lived up to his previously- billed constitutional philosophy.

“Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis,” wrote the jurist.

Gorsuch went after Cuomo for his choice of “essential” businesses that escaped the stricter limitations.

“It turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores,” Gorsuch said. “Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too.”

“[A]ccording to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians,” he wrote. “Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”

But for that pesky U.S. Constitution.

“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,” Gorsuch declared.

Cuomo accused the bench of political partisanship in his response, saying the decision “was really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics.”

In effect, he tried to play a shell game on where restrictions are put in place.

“The Supreme Court made a ruling. It’s more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else,” he told reporters on a Thanksgiving Day conference call, according to the New York Post. “It’s irrelevant of any practical impact because of the zone they were talking about is moot. It expired last week.”

“It doesn’t have any practical effect,” Gov. Cuomo added. “The lawsuit was about the Brooklyn zone. The Brooklyn zone no longer exists as a red zone. That’s muted. So that restriction is no longer in effect. That situation just doesn’t exist because those restrictions are gone.”

What cannot be denied is President Trump’s influence on the court.

Earlier this year, in similar cases out of California and Nevada, before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against houses of worship, with Roberts siding with the liberal faction of the court.

With Barrett siding with the court’s conservative justices in the more recent case, effectively trumping Roberts’ practice of siding with the liberal jurists, there was a common suggestion online that this is now the “Clarence Thomas Supreme Court.”

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Tom Tillison

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