DevNull127 writes: Earlier this year the governor’s order had “restricted the size of religious gatherings in certain areas of New York where infection rates were climbing,” reports the New York Times. But Wednesday night (in a close 5 to 4 decision) America’s highest court ruled against the governor — and in favor of two religious organizations challenging him.
“[T]hey 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 ruling points out.
CNN notes that the court’s majority believed that the governor’s enjoined regulations were “‘far more restrictive than any Covid-related regulations that have previously come before the court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus’ at the religious services in question.”
The Times concludes that “If unconstrained religious observance and public safety were sometimes at odds, as the governor and other public officials maintained, the court ruled that religious freedom should win out.”
Jeffrey D. Sachs, a professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, argues the court’s ruling “proved the dangers of scientifically illiterate judges overturning government decisions that were based on scientific evidence.”