Case on Churches, Cuomo and Coronavirus Arrives at Supreme Court

first_imgThe restrictions in Brooklyn are severe. In shifting “red zones,” where the coronavirus risk is highest, no more than 10 people may attend church services. In slightly less dangerous “orange zones,” attendance is capped at 25. This applies even in churches that can seat more than 1,000 people.The measures were prompted in large part by rising cases in Orthodox Jewish areas. But the restrictions applied to all houses of worship.Even as he ruled against the diocese, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn praised it as “an exemplar of community leadership” that had been “enforcing stricter safety protocols than the state required.”Lawyers for Mr. Cuomo agreed, telling an appeals court that the diocese “has introduced laudable social-distancing and hygiene measures.”The diocese has said it intends to continue to limit attendance to 25 percent of its churches’ capacities and would accept other limitations, such as doing away with singing by congregants and choirs.Judge Garaufis, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, said the case was a difficult one. But he concluded that he would defer to the governor. “If the court issues an injunction and the state is correct about the acuteness of the threat currently posed by hot spot neighborhoods,” the judge wrote, “the result could be avoidable death on a massive scale like New Yorkers experienced in the spring.”In refusing to block the governor’s order while the diocese’s appeal went forward, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit drew on Chief Justice Roberts’s concurring opinion in the California case. Since the restrictions on churches were less severe than those on comparable secular gatherings like theaters, casinos and gyms, the majority wrote in an unsigned opinion, they did not run afoul of constitutional protections for religious freedom. One view, expressed by Chief Justice Roberts in a concurring opinion in the California case, is that officials charged with protecting the public “should not be subject to second-guessing by an unelected federal judiciary, which lacks the background, competence and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.”A few hours after the diocese filed its application, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. delivered a slashing speech to a conservative legal group that expressed the opposite view. He had dissented in both of the earlier cases, and his speech echoed points he had made in the one from Nevada.“Whenever fundamental rights are restricted, the Supreme Court and other courts cannot close their eyes,” Justice Alito said on Thursday, rejecting the view that “whenever there is an emergency, executive officials have unlimited, unreviewable discretion.” The court is likely to rule on the dispute from Brooklyn in the next week or so. The case may be the first in which Justice Barrett’s vote changes the court’s direction. WASHINGTON — In recent months, churches in California and Nevada asked the Supreme Court to lift government restrictions on attendance at religious services meant to address the coronavirus pandemic. The churches lost.The vote in both cases was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining what was then the court’s four-member liberal wing. One of those liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died in September. Her successor, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, joined the court last month.- Advertisement – The members of the majority were Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr., who was appointed by President Barack Obama, and Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who ordinarily sits on Federal District Court in Manhattan and who was appointed by Mr. Clinton.Judge Michael H. Park, who was appointed by President Trump, dissented. He said Governor Cuomo’s order discriminated against houses of worship because it allowed businesses like liquor stores and pet shops to remain open without capacity restrictions.In asking the Supreme Court to step in, lawyers for the diocese argued that its “spacious churches” were safer than many “secular businesses that can open without restrictions, such as pet stores and broker’s offices and banks and bodegas.” An hourlong Mass, the diocese’s brief said, is “shorter than many trips to a supermarket or big-box store, not to mention a 9-to-5 job.”Lawyers for Mr. Cuomo said gatherings like those at churches and theaters were different from shopping trips. “The state’s limits on mass gatherings have consistently recognized that the risk of transmitting Covid-19 is much greater at gatherings where people arrive and depart at the same time and congregate and mingle for a communal activity over an extended period of time,” the governor’s appeals court brief said.Judge Park, the dissenting appeals court judge, twice served as a law clerk to Justice Alito, once on the federal appeals court in Philadelphia and once on the Supreme Court. His dissent anticipated the remarks his former boss delivered on Thursday.“The pandemic,” Justice Alito said, “has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”“This is especially evident with respect to religious liberty,” he added. “It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” – Advertisement – It will not take long to assess the significance of that switch.On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn filed an emergency application asking the Supreme Court to lift restrictions imposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. The case is broadly similar to the earlier ones. The outcome, even as the pandemic is worsening, may be quite different.The general question in all of the cases is whether government officials or judges should calibrate responses to the public health crisis. – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Enterprise brimming with confidence as playoffs loom

first_imgBy Frederick HalleyTORONTO, Canada — Enterprise Sports Club are brimming with confidence after a dream debut season in the Ontario Softball Cricket League (OSCL) 2016 season, playing unbeaten in their 13 preliminary round games which ended last Sunday at the Woburn Number Two ground here.Competing in Conference B, Enterprise went unscathed in the regular season (20 overs); their only blunder being a loss to GTA Storm in the final of the Norman Sue Bakery-sponsored 15-overVice-captain Seenarine Narine poses following his unbeaten knock of 88.Vice-captain Seenarine Narine poses following his unbeaten knock of 88.tournament. They ended the season with 85 points, three more than rivals GTA Storm with 82.Enterprise, however, salvaged some revenge when they defeated GTA Storm in the penultimate game of the regular season last Saturday at the Ashtonbee Number Two ground, both teams being unbeaten at that stage.And with the playoffs set to start on Saturday, the feeling around is that these two teams will clash once more in the Conference final which promises to be a grand showdown.Both teams are supremely confident they are capable of getting past the other but they must first get to the final after contesting quarter-final encounters against lesser opponents. Enterprise are scheduled to play 3 Counties EDB in Saturday’s quarter-final while GTA Storm oppose Cougars.Enterprise sent a clear message to their opponents in their final game, recording a massive 108-run victory over Restoration Warriors at Woburn.Led by boundary-studded innings of 92 from Sharaz Hamid and an undefeated 88 from vice-captain Seenarine Narine, Enterprise piled up 235 for three in their allotted 20 overs before limiting Restoration Warriors to 127 for eight in 20.Hamid clobbered eight sixes and three fours while Narine’s knock contained seven sixes and six fours.For Restoration Warriors, former Guyana Chronicle sports reporter Ravendra Madholall was unbeaten on 40 while Navin Misir hit 23.On Saturday, Enterprise batted first and scored 124 for seven and restricted GTA Storm to 96 all out. Skipper Rabindra Diaram led from the front with 30 while Hamid (30) and Avinash Singh (25) lend supporting knocks. Diaram also came back to capture three for 14, Terrence Van Sertima two for 14 and Imtiaz ‘Crasher’ Ali two for 17.last_img read more

Wellington police notes: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2014

first_imgWellington Police notes for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014: •7:53 a.m. Shaun R. McKellip, 45, Wellington was arrested and charged with driving while license is suspended, no proof of Insurance and expired registration.  (bonded)•8 a.m. Officers investigated violation of offender registration by a known suspect in the 1400 block Michigan, Wellington.•8:53 a.m. Officers investigated criminal damage to loader and excavator in the 500 block S. U.S. 81, Wellington.•8:53 a.m. Officers investigated criminal damage to an excavator in the 500 block S. U.S. 81, Wellington.•10:30 a.m. Officers investigated criminal damage of a fence gate in the 800 block W. Hillside, Wellington.•10:34 a.m. Officers investigated a battery and theft by a known suspect in the 1400 block W. 8th, Wellington.•11:56 a.m. Officers took a report of suspicious activity by known subjects in the 200 block E. 3rd, Wellington.•2:33 p.m. Officers investigated making false information in the 1600 block N. A, Wellington.•6:23 p.m. Leslie Cairns, 61, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with speeding 73 mph in a 55 mph zone.•11:01 p.m. Officers investigated a theft of a sandwich in the 2000 block E. 16th, Wellington.last_img read more