New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is taking aim at the Supreme Court for deciding to prohibit him from implementing restrictions on religious gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Cuomo’s order, worship services were required to be capped at 10 people if the places of worship are located in “red zones.”
If the places of worship are located in “orange zones,” 25 people are allowed to attend services.
During a conference call on Thursday, Cuomo minimized the effects of the ruling.
“That Supreme Court ruling on the religious gatherings is more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else. It’s irrelevant from any practical impact,” Cuomo said.
He added, “The zone that they were talking about has already been moot. It expired last week. So I think this is just really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics. It doesn’t have any practical effect.”
Listen to his comments below:
Cuomo recognized the significance of religion, but reminded Americans it is important to stay safe.
“Look, I’m a former altar boy, Catholic grammar school, Catholic high school, Jesuits at college, so I fully respect religion and if there’s a time in life when we need it, the time is now,” Cuomo said. “But we want to make sure we keep people safe at the same time. And that’s the balance we’re trying to hit, especially through this holiday season.”
The majority decision reads, “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.”
It adds, “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.”
Cuomo recently announced restrictions to private gatherings, only allowing for 10 people, as IJR previously reported.
After several upstate sheriffs voiced their opposition to the restrictions, Cuomo criticized them.
He called a sheriff who refuses to enforce the rules a “dictator.”