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Religious Liberty Firm Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Places of Worship from NY Governor Cuomo’s Order

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November 18, 2020

Press Statement
For Immediate Release: 11.18.20
Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453 

Religious Liberty Firm Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Places of Worship from NY Governor Cuomo’s Order

First Liberty Institute files friend-of-the-court brief in key religious liberty case at the Supreme Court of the United States

Washington, DC—First Liberty Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief in The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, a case in which the Brooklyn Diocese has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to grant an emergency injunction against restrictions on houses of worship ordered by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

You can read the brief here.

“Governor Cuomo’s orders unlawfully target religious worship and violate the First Amendment,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “Courts must be vigilant to protect fundamental individual liberties for all Americans, especially during a time of crisis. Courts must meaningfully review any order that singles out religious worship as a category for its own unique and burdensome restrictions.”

Governor Cuomo’s latest Executive Order imposes restrictions on houses of worship while favoring well over one hundred secular, for-profit activities over religiously-motivated activities.  Attendance at houses of worship is capped at 10 or 25 people in certain areas, while a wide range of for-profit activity in these areas are not subject to any capacity limitations at all.   In response, the Brooklyn Diocese argues the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Governor Cuomo violate its constitutional right of religious freedom.

In its brief, First Liberty urged the Supreme Court to grant the emergency injunction “to correct lower courts’ widespread misinterpretation” of its opinion in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom issued earlier this year.

“Lower courts across the country are misconstruing the [South Bay] opinion to hold that normal principles of constitutional law do not apply during a prolonged pandemic. Courts have granted an unprecedented level of deference to government officials to impose unequal and discriminatory restrictions on religious exercise, functionally holding that decades of religious liberty precedents are indefinitely on hold. South Bay, of course, stands for no such thing.”

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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