New York Governor Cuomo called the Supreme Court ruling that blocked some COVID-19 restrictions on religious services 'irrelevant'

Mary Meisenzahl
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York at a news conference on June 10. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • The Supreme Court blocked some COVID-19 restrictions on religious services in New York state.

  • The 5-4 ruling was in favor of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues, which said they were being unfairly singled out by the rules.

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the ruling was "irrelevant" because the restrictions were no longer in place.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has called a Wednesday Supreme Court ruling "irrelevant," Reuters reported.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against New York state COVID-19 restrictions that limited attendance at religious services in places with extreme COVID-19 outbreaks, designated red or orange zones.

Cuomo told reporters on a call Thursday that the decision would not affect New York's rules because the area in the case was no longer considered to be a red zone.

"It's irrelevant from any practical impact because the zone that they were talking about has already been moot," he said.

The case was brought by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues that said they were being unfairly singled out by the rules, according to Reuters.

The case was based on an October decision by Cuomo to shut down businesses considered nonessential in areas with severe outbreaks. The state identifies areas as yellow, orange, or red based on severity of coronavirus infections, and religious services in red zones were limited to 25% capacity, or 10 people. The diocese said it was being singled out over certain businesses in the same zone.

"I think this was really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics," Cuomo said about the decision, made by the court's conservative majority. Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices in dissenting.

Roberts wrote that the rules seemed "unduly restrictive," but he also said he believed relieving religious services from the order was unnecessary, as the rules were no longer in place.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the conservative majority, illustrating the ideological impact of her recent addition to the court, which ruled differently on the subject than it had earlier when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the bench.

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