Leaders of Jewish congregations in New York state, pointed out the restrictions imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying that they discriminate against Jews and violate the First Amendment. On Monday, Nov. 16, the group made an emergency presentation on the issue to the Supreme Court.
The congregations had originally sued Cuomo in federal court in Manhattan, accusing the Democrat of making “negative, false and discriminatory statements” about the Orthodox Jewish community when he announced new measures aimed at minimizing the risk of contagion from a new wave of the CCP Virus in New York.
According to The Associated Press report, Cuomo’s statements and actions were offensive to Jewish residents in an area upstate from New York City, considered by the governor to be a red-light district, arguing that the Orthodox Jewish communities there did not respect the rules for preventing infection.
In a series of press conferences, Cuomo explained that he was enacting new restrictions on places of worship in certain neighborhoods that contain many Orthodox Jews.
Consequently, the measures announced on Oct. 6, indicated the temporary limitation of the size of religious gatherings in the hot spots of the virus to a maximum of 10 people.
The limits prompted several federal lawsuits, one of which said Cuomo’s order was “blatantly anti-Semitic, creating color-coded ‘hot spot’ zones based on religious observance and targeting particular Jewish communities.”
“We are dismayed by Governor Cuomo’s words and actions today. He has chosen to achieve a scientific and constitutionally questionable closure of our communities,” said Councilman Kalman Yeger, state Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and City Councilman Chaim Deutsch in a joint statement.
The federal lawsuits were rejected, and for that reason, under the leadership of Agudath Israel of America, a presentation was made to the Supreme Court, which asked the judges to decide on their request before 3:00 p.m. on Friday, just before Saturday, The Free Beacon reported.
The appeal is expected to mark a turning point in the many restrictions on worship that the pandemic has prompted. While the Supreme Court has rejected several claims of religious freedom violations because of the regulations imposed by the pandemic, Monday’s case is particularly noteworthy given that Cuomo singled out Orthodox Jews when he discussed the order in public.
The earlier claims regarding religious freedoms were decided before Judge Amy Coney Barrett who replaced the late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This also increases the confidence of the plaintiffs, given the judge’s conservative profile.