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

EPL: Aston Villa hold Man U at Old Trafford

first_imgRelatedPosts UEFA Nations League: Spain’s Gaya nets late goal to snatch draw with Germany PSG ponder Ighalo move ‘Strong’ De Gea under no extra pressure from Man U, says Solskjaer Manchester United squandered the chance to move into Champions League contention after being held to a 2-2 home draw by Aston Villa. For a substantial period in the first half, the visitors, who had lost 16 of their last 17 matches against established top-six opponents, controlled proceedings with a game plan centred around the influential Jack Grealish. Villa’s captain scored the opener and presented all manner of problems before Marcus Rashford forced an own goal from goalkeeper Tom Heaton minutes before the interval. When Victor Lindelof put United ahead midway through the second half, coming from behind to take the lead for the second successive Premier League match, that should have been the signal for them to see out the game. Instead of reaching their highest position since mid-September, which would have put them within six points of Chelsea, United had to settle for a point which lifted them into ninth. In truth they did not deserve victory, which would have papered over the cracks of another directionless performance, as it was Grealish who stole the show by demonstrating the absolute best of his talents. It was an effortless display from the Villa captain, particularly in the first half. Everything he did was intelligent and instinctive, hanging out on the left and then drifting inside with purpose, intent and a genuine threat. On the occasions when United’s players could get near him they could only foul but the goal he scored was brilliant in its execution, even if the apparent ease with which he skipped past Andreas Pereira was something of a concern. Having collected an 11th-minute cross from Anwar El Ghazi, who injured himself in the process and took no further part, he cut back onto his right foot and curled a delightful shot over David De Gea and into the top corner. The 24-year-old has now been directly involved in seven Premier League goals this season (three goals and four assists), the most of any English midfielder. Even the loss of El Ghazi failed to halt Villa’s progress as his replacement Trezeguet forced the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble – again created by Grealish – only for it to be chalked off by an offside flag which had gone up a considerable time earlier. Rashford had been one of the few United bright spots of the first half, shooting at Heaton and then bundling a shot wide, as the forward line fed off scraps chasing long balls. However, a striker with 10 goals in his previous 11 matches for club and country does not need many more chances and things become easier when opportunities come gift-wrapped. Misjudgements from Mings, in delaying his clearance, and Heaton, having to concede a corner to avoid sliding out of the area with the ball in his hands, allowed Pereira to swing over a cross for Rashford’s header to hit the far post and go in off the goalkeeper. United finally turned up for the second half with a weaving run from the previously anonymous Anthony Martial forcing Heaton into a reflex save, with Juan Mata’s penalty claim turned down in the same attack. The game appeared to change in the space of 60 seconds as a sliding Grealish failed to properly connect with Trezeguet’s deflected pass at one end and Lindelof headed home Fred’s cross at the other. But the lead lasted less than four minutes as Matt Targett’s chipped pass caught Brandon Williams hanging back as the United raced out defending a short free-kick and Mings, along with Trezeguet, was left alone to volley past De Gea. Martial somehow scooped over from three yards but their momentum had been interrupted and there was no recovering it.Tags: Aston Villa FCDavid De GeaManchester United FClast_img read more