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Just In Time

A much-needed rebuke of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was delivered by the Supreme Court late Wednesday evening. The Court slapped down severe restrictions that Cuomo had imposed on places of worship in various parts of the Empire State.

Depending on the area, many establishments were open for business as usual, while churches were limited to just a small handful of worshipers.

Pandemic or not, there are just some things government cannot do, even during a national crisis. At the very top of that list is limiting our First Amendment rights to freely exercise our religious beliefs. No elected leader, on any level, should be able to decide that our Constitutional rights aren’t “essential.”

If a church, synagogue, or mosque decides it’s best to restrict attendance or cancel services due to COVID, then fine – that’s their call to make, not the government’s. If individual parishioners decide to alter their worship plans, that too is their decision, not the government’s.

Government should provide the data, inform people of the risks, and make recommendations. But at the end of the day, we cannot allow lawmakers or bureaucrats to infringe upon our Constitutional rights, even under the pretext of keeping us safe. Once that precedent is established and upheld, their justification for doing so next time could be a lot more trivial.

This is why this ruling by the Supreme Court on Wednesday was so important. And because it was a narrow 5-4 decision – with John Roberts again on the wrong side of things – it reinforces the importance of getting Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the Court.

Just in time.

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