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The recent confirmation of President Trump-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett has resulted in its first significant Supreme Court outcome, and it relates to the first protected liberty specified in the Bill of Rights: the free exercise of religion.

In a 5-4 ruling late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court backed a religious challenge to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions limiting attendance at religious services. The majority ruling blocks enforcement of the restrictions while the applicants pursue appellate review. The ruling highlights the lack of evidence that the applicants — the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, two Jewish synagogues, and an Orthodox Jewish organization — have contributed to the spread of the virus and questions the rationale of the specifics of Cuomo’s restrictions, which limited services to just 10 and 25 occupants for red and orange zones, respectively.

“Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID–19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services,” the decision reads. “Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.”

“Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” the ruling asserts. “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure.”

“The applicants have made the showing needed to obtain relief, and there is no reason why they should bear the risk of suffering further irreparable harm in the event of another reclassification,” the ruling concludes. “For these reasons, we hold that enforcement of the Governor’s severe restrictions on the applicants’ religious services must be enjoined.”

In his concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch, the first of Trump’s three Supreme Court appointments, writes, “Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis. At a minimum, that Amendment prohibits government officials from treating religious exercises worse than comparable secular activities, unless they are pursuing a compelling interest and using the least restrictive means available. … Yet recently, during the COVID pandemic, certain States seem to have ignored these long-settled principles. Today’s case supplies just the latest example.”

“It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques,” he concludes.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second appointee, concurs, concluding: “On this record, the applicants have shown: a likelihood that the Court would grant certiorari and reverse; irreparable harm; and that the equities favor injunctive relief. I therefore vote to grant the applications for temporary injunctive relief until the Court of Appeals in December, and then this Court as appropriate, can more fully consider the merits.”

Notably, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined in dissent with the three progressive members of the Court. “I would not grant injunctive relief under the present circumstances,” his dissent begins. “There is simply no need to do so. After the Diocese and Agudath Israel filed their applications, the Governor revised the designations of the affected areas. None of the houses of worship identified in the applications is now subject to any fixed numerical restrictions. At these locations, the applicants can hold services with up to 50% of capacity, which is at least as favorable as the relief they currently seek.”

The majority ruling rejects Roberts’ and the three liberal judges’ argument that the matter is moot because the circumstances have changed, contending: “The dissenting opinions argue that we should withhold relief because the relevant circumstances have now changed. After the applicants asked this Court for relief, the Governor reclassified the areas in question from orange to yellow, and this change means that the applicants may hold services at 50% of their maximum occupancy. The dis- sents would deny relief at this time but allow the Diocese and Agudath Israel to renew their requests if this recent reclassification is reversed. There is no justification for that proposed course of action. It is clear that this matter is not moot.”

As noted by The New York Times, Supreme Court’s ruling is “at odds” with its previous rulings concerning church attendance restrictions in California and Nevada, delivered in May and July, respectively, in which the court declined to back similar challenges. Justice Barrett was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 26 in a 52-48 vote.

Read the full ruling here.

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5 Comments
  • Sesa says:

    ACB, for such a time as this.

  • J Surhoff says:

    Roberts is a low life piece of lying shit. He has always been a liberal. The court is just now 5-4.

  • LST says:

    HA HA dictator Cuomo, get fucked.

  • Steve Fye says:

    Boy that John Roberts is a real scumbag. Idiot Bush is to blame for that POS SCOTUS. Skull and Bones, Yale, Harvard, what’s the difference? They’re all a bunch of Luciferian shit stains. The pictures of Roberts fucking a little boy in the ass will be coming out the day he sides with the conservatives.

  • Intellectual Impaler says:

    According to Liberals concerning Court judgments, its all about the precedent that had been set that decides future rulings. WELLLLLLLLLL. We now have set a precedent that they actually do not like one bit. They set precedents and when the “shoe is on the other foot” they cry Foul! The Constitution will again prevail to run this Nation. FINALLY!!!!

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    New Details Emerge on Antifa Activist Charged for Role in Capitol Riot

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    The self-described left-wing activist recently arrested for allegedly taking part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol — later claiming he was there to “document” it — allegedly wore a gas mask and had a knife at the time of the siege, court papers show.

    John “Jayden X” Sullivan is due to appear in court at 4 p.m. local time Friday in connection with charges for civil disorder, violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building or grounds.

    The 26-year-old self-described journalist and activist was arrested Thursday and has been in the custody of Toeele County, Utah, authorities, officials previously said. Sources told Fox News Sullivan is not known to be affiliated with Antifa.

    In addition to the ballistic vest Sullivan was previously reported to have worn while inside the Capitol, court papers show he also wore a gas mask and claimed to have had a knife.

    Sullivan, who filmed his time in the federal building — including the fatal shooting of California Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt — later shared the footage with authorities.

    In one clip, Sullivan can be heard saying: “Hey guys, I have a knife. I have a knife. Let me up,” court documents state.

    In one video, Sullivan can allegedly be heard cheering on the crowd as they broke through the final barricade before the Capitol and saying: “We did this together. … We are all a part of history.”

    In at least two encounters, Sullivan can be heard on video telling officers to stand down so they don’t get hurt and saying “the people have spoken,” according to an affidavit.

    Sullivan, who founded activist group Insurgence USA, told Rolling Stone he was acting in such a way because he “had to relate to these people.”

    He continued: “And build trust in the short amount of time I had there to get where I need to go … to the front of the crowd to see the dynamic between the police and the protesters, because nobody wants to see the backs of people’s heads from a far-off distance.”

    He told Fox News was at the Capitol siege to “document” the events, and said he frequently attends and films protests.

    “As far as being able to understand who is in the crowd, based on being around protests a lot … I didn’t see any people who were originally at BLM protests,” he told Fox News at the time.

    He could not be reached for comment following his arrest.

    Sullivan was also charged with rioting and criminal mischief on July 13 following a June protest in Provo that resulted in an SUV driver being shot while driving through the two opposing groups. The case is still pending.

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    Secret Service Refutes WaPo Story Claiming that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Denied Agents Restroom Access in Their Home

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    The Washington Post reported Thursday that U.S. Secret Service agents assigned to protect Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been forced to go to great lengths to use the bathroom because the couple forbids their protectors from using the facilities in their home.

    But a spokesperson for the Secret Service says The Post’s claims were not true.

    The Post made waves with a story alleging that Kushner and Trump told agents they were not allowed to use any of the six restrooms in their Washington, D.C., home, causing the guardians major inconveniences whenever nature called.

    “After resorting to a porta-potty, as well as bathrooms at the nearby home of former president Barack Obama and the not-so-nearby residence of Vice President Pence, the agents finally found a toilet to call their own,” the newspaper reported, adding, “But it came at a cost to U.S. taxpayers. Since September 2017, the federal government has been spending $3,000 a month — more than $100,000 to date — to rent a basement studio, with a bathroom, from a neighbor of the Kushner family.”

    According to The Post—which published pictures and details of the Kushner-Trump residence—”a spokeswoman for the Secret Service initially declined to comment, writing in an email that the agency ‘does not discuss the means, methods or resources utilized to carry out our protective mission.'”

    Yet, after the allegations went trending on Twitter and spurred on additional headlines, the agency spokesperson corrected the record.

    The Post reported:

    But on Thursday evening, eight hours after this story appeared online, she sent a second email with a new statement, saying that the Secret Service tries to have minimal impact on households it protects. “In accordance with this practice, Secret Service personnel do not request access to the facilities at private residences,” she wrote. “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have not denied Secret Service personnel access to their home to include use of the restroom.”

    The White House also denied the claim, with spokesman Judd Deere telling the outlet:

    “When discussions regarding protecting their home were initially had in 2017, Ivanka and Jared made clear that their home would always be open to the incredible men and women on their detail. It was only after a decision by the [Secret Service] was made that their detail sought other accommodations,. The Kushners have a tremendous amount of respect for the servicemen and women on their detail and for the United States Secret Service as a whole. Their home will always be open to them and they have immense gratitude for their service over the last four years.”

    After the Secret Service spokeswoman issued her statement to The Post refuting the claims, an assistant to President Donald Trump tweeted, “The @washingtonpost story about Jared and Ivanka today was a lie. The story never made sense, and was simply not true. Now the Secret Service has even denied the story.”

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    Jacob Blake Opens Up on Police Shooting, Says He Didn’t Want to be the ‘Next George Floyd’ — Which is Why He Walked Away from Police — and Admits He Was Armed

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    Jacob Blake, who was shot at least seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer — says that he was worried he was going to become the “next George Floyd,” which prompted him to walk away from responding officers.

    He also admitted that he was armed.

    A Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot Blake in the back seven times during an Aug. 23 call for a domestic dispute. The officers who shot Blake were ultimately cleared, and not charged with any crimes after the investigation revealed that Blake was, in fact, armed with a knife at the time he was shot, and that the officer reasonably believed that Blake might harm him or the children in the car.

    The attorney for the officer who shot Blake has noted publicly that the officer believed that Blake was attempting to kidnap the children in the purportedly stolen car that precipitated Blake’s interaction with the police.

    Following the shooting, riots and protests erupted across Wisconsin, after Blake was repeatedly and erroneously described as having been “unarmed” at the time he was shot.

    Blake, who is partially paralyzed as a result of the shooting, spoke to “Good Morning America’s” Michael Strahan on Thursday about the August shooting that took place outside of a Kenosha-area home.

    On the incident, Blake recalled, “I was like, ‘He’s shooting me.’ I couldn’t believe it, so I kind of sat down in the car … put my hands up, because I didn’t want him to shoot me in my face or in my head or nothing. He just kept shooting, kept shooting. My babies are right here, my babies. So after he stopped shooting me, I said, ‘Daddy loves you no matter what.”

    “I thought it was going to be the last thing I said to them,” he admitted. “Thank God it wasn’t. I didn’t want to be the next George Floyd. I didn’t want to die.”

    He told Strahan, “I resisted to getting beat on. What I mean by that is not falling, not letting them put their head on my neck. That’s all I was thinking.”

    According to CNN, “Blake [said he] picked up the knife and began to walk toward the driver’s door of the SUV, away from the officers” during the altercation.

    “I shouldn’t have picked it up,” Blake said, admitting that he “wasn’t thinking clearly” at the time.

    Blake said that he “intended to put the knife in the SUV and then lay on the ground to submit to the police officers.”

    “If they did it there and they killed me there, everybody would see it,” he reasoned.

    A September report from the Kenosha Police Union stated that Blake reportedly confronted responding officers following the domestic dispute call.

    The report alleged that Blake reportedly put one of the responding officer in a headlock position, and was reportedly armed with a knife that he refused to drop.

    When Blake attempted to get back into his vehicle, the officer shot him multiple times.

    Officers reportedly saw a knife on the floor of Blake’s vehicle during the attempted detainment.

    At the time, Kenosha Police Union Attorney Brendan Matthews said that officers were responding to the residence of Blake’s ex-girlfriend, with whom he has children. The unnamed woman accused Blake of sexual assault in May, and in August, phoned police to report that Blake was reportedly attempting to steal her keys and her vehicle. Previous reporting noted that Blake was not supposed to be at the woman’s residence due to the purported May assault.

    Last week, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said that the officer who shot Blake would not be charged, and said that the officer fired in self-defense as Blake was “actively resisting” arrest.

    Blake is suing the Kenosha Police Department for reportedly violating his civil rights during the incident.

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    GOP Congressman Who Lost Legs In War Responds To Attack From CNN’s Tapper On If He Supports Democracy

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    Disabled war veteran Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) slammed CNN host Jake Tapper on Wednesday after Tapper called out Mast’s “commitment” to American democracy after Mast asked whether members of Congress had questioned individuals involved in last week’s riot before initiating impeachment this week.

    “On January 6th, thousands broke the law by taking siege of our capital here with us inside. Has any one of those individuals who brought violence on the capital, been brought here to answer whether they did that because of our president?” Mast asked on the House floor, which was highlighted during an interview that he did Thursday morning on Fox News. “It appears I will receive no answer. I will yield my time back.”

    Tapper responded to Mast’s remark, saying on live television, “Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida, who lost his legs, by the way, fighting for democracy abroad, although I don’t know what his—I don’t know about his commitment to it here in the United States.”

    Mast initially responded by writing on Twitter: “I lost two legs for @jaketapper’s right to say whatever the hell he wants, but that free speech also protects the Republicans he is so eager to condemn for asking Constitutional questions about the election.”

    During his interview on Fox News this morning, Mast said that the message he wanted to deliver on the House floor was:

    The message was simple. You have 430 plus members of Congress, they’re responsible for making the highest laws in the land that pertain to all-Americans and they are about to vote one way or another on whether the president incited other people to do something and there wasn’t one of those members that could say they heard any questioning of the people that were said to be incited. Nobody was asked do you do this because of the president? Do you do it because of something he said he year ago or something something Giuliani said on January 6th? Did you go there because of the president but violence was your own thing? Did he tell you to be peaceful? Nobody can say they spoke to one of those individuals and that has to be the most dangerous precedent for this body to set to say if you are an American out there this is how we are going to hold you accountable for inciting somebody else. We’re not going to bother to ask any questions at all, we’re just going to jump to a conclusion and rush to judgment. That is totally un-American, wholly in opposition to the due process that every American is owed.

    Mast was also asked to respond to Tapper’s remarks, to which he responded, “I’m going to say to Mr. Tapper the same thing that half of America is saying right now: Hold me to a high standard, don’t hold me to a double standard.”

    “And me asking if any of these lawmakers that are about to vote have gone through any questioning, any hearings, and asked any questions of anybody, that’s an appropriate question and it speaks to the foundation of our democracy. It doesn’t diminish it,” he continued. “And I would give this statement to him as well, it is not as important in America, especially today with all the division that we have, that I say this is what I think about you. We got to get to the point that we’re saying, this is why I think something, now I can say this is why I think you’re wrong and we can have a real debate and hopefully you end up learning something about each other instead of just coming away with two people that are pissed off at one another.”

    When further pressed by one of the co-hosts on Fox & Friends about how he felt about what Tapper said, Mast said, “My commitment to democracy, to my country, is unwavering.”

    “I love this place so much. It literally breaks my heart to see the divide that exists in it. I love our democracy,” he continued. “For all of our problems, there is no government that I would rather be a part of anywhere in this world. And to strengthen that and keep it strong, we have to ask those questions. It’s not the opposite of that where we don’t ask those questions, don’t ask lawmakers, ‘did you take the time to ask somebody or interview somebody or have a hearing?’ That has to be the foundation of having justice. It’s asking questions and waiting for the answer in silence until somebody gives it to you or taking their silence as an answer. That’s my response to him, I love this place.”

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