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The U.S. Supreme Court granted an injunction Wednesday evening against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on religious services in a 5-4 decision that saw Justice Amy Coney Barrett with the conservative majority — and Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberal minority.
The Court was responding to a request for an emergency injunction by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish group, against restrictions limiting services to ten people in some areas and 25 people in others.
In early October, Cuomo openly threatened to “close the synagogues” if they did not comply with his orders.
Citing a variety of remarks made by the Governor, Agudath Israel argues that the Governor specifically targeted the Orthodox Jewish community and gerrymandered the boundaries of red and orange zones to ensure that heavily Orthodox areas were included. Both the Diocese and Agudath Israel maintain that the regulations treat houses of worship much more harshly than comparable secular facilities. And they tell us without contradiction that they have complied with all public health guidance, have implemented additional precautionary measures, and have operated at 25% or 33% capacity for months without a single outbreak.
The applicants have clearly established their entitlement to relief pending appellate review. They have shown that their First Amendment claims are likely to prevail, that denying them relief would lead to irreparable injury, and that granting relief would not harm the public interest.
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