A federal appeals court in Manhattan has overturned New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's blocking orders against places of worship, declaring it "discriminates against religion at first sight."
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously joined the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America and two synagogues in their lawsuit against Cuomo on Monday.
It was about the number of people who could attend religious meetings. The religious houses argued that Cuomo wrongly attacked them with arbitrary rules, while allowing other companies that were deemed essential to remain open and unreserved.
"The restrictions challenged here put a special and disproportionate burden on religious practice," wrote Circuit Judge Michael Park, a judge appointed by President Trump.
"We conclude from this that (Cuomos) Order discriminates against religion at first sight."
It's Cuomo and his husband who are the disgusting dictators: //t.co/KOTerotthY
– Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) December 29, 2020
RELATED: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard praises the Supreme Court's decision to crush Cuomo's edict on religious gatherings
Cuomo's lockdown orders are wrongly targeted at religious gatherings
The Second Circuit ruling comes roughly a month after the Supreme Court issued an injunction blocking Cuomo's efforts to restrict religious gatherings during the pandemic.
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Judge Neil Gorsuch, another representative of President Trump, said in his unanimous opinion that the administration "is not free to ignore the first amendment in a time of crisis".
"There is no world where the constitution tolerates color-coded executive ordinances that reopen liquor and bicycle stores, but rather shutters, synagogues and mosques," he wrote.
At the time, Cuomo dismissed the Supreme Court's ruling as "contentious" and "irrelevant", claiming that restrictions had been lifted in the areas in question.
Still, the court held that the restrictions "are at the heart of the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom" and that "even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be repealed and forgotten".
Justice Barrett decides: Gorsuch destroys Cuomo | Law & Crime https://t.co/8K9yLlSOYv
– Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) November 26, 2020
RELATED: Trump just finished Obama's 12-year streak as the Most Admired Man
Gabbard tears into the lockdown edicts
Former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard praised the Supreme Court decision to block Cuomo's anti-religion lockdown rules.
"While COVID temporarily imposes certain public health restrictions, places of worship MUST be treated in the same way as secular institutions – not stricter / stricter," she said, a direct shot at Governor Cuomo.
I strongly support this Supreme Court ruling in defense of our First Amendment / freedom of religion. While COVID temporarily imposes certain restrictions on public health, places of worship MUST be treated in the same way as secular institutions – not stricter / stricter.https: //t.co/PD2ztczYrD
– Tulsi Gabbard @ (@TulsiGabbard) November 30, 2020
Regarding Monday's decision, an attorney predicted one of the plaintiffs that the decision would go beyond COVID restrictions.
"It's a clear statement … that the government cannot oppose religious behavior just because it sees no value in religious practice," they said.
While Cuomo sees these decisions as irrelevant, ensuring freedom and religion for everyone – even during a pandemic – is anything but. And the restriction of these freedoms is unconstitutional.