Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on another court victory for religious liberty:
On December 28, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel in their attempts to overturn the tyrannical edicts of Governor Andrew Cuomo: he loves to impose occupancy limits on houses of worship. For those keeping score at home, this is Cuomo’s third defeat in court.
The most recent setback for Cuomo came in the form of a 3-0 decision by the Second Circuit to block his restrictions which limit the capacity of worshipers to 10 in red zones and 25 in orange zones.
In the court’s ruling, Circuit Judge Michael Park said, “no public interest is served by maintaining an unconstitutional policy….” This is a scathing rebuke, and Cuomo would do well to abandon his course. However, he is no stranger to defeat and appears not to heed such warnings from the courts.
On June 26, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe handed Cuomo his first defeat when he ruled that the governor exceeded his authority by putting restrictions on people of faith while simultaneously condoning protests.
Not to be deterred by this ruling, in October, Cuomo tried again to limit the religious liberties of New Yorkers when he issued his dictates to cap the number of worshipers in houses of worship to 10 or 25 people. Fortunately, on November 25, the Supreme Court intervened and provided a temporary injunction against enforcing these draconian restrictions. The ruling from the Second Circuit made the high court’s decision more enduring.
If this were a game of baseball, this would be Cuomo’s third strike, and he would be out. Unfortunately, Cuomo is not a major leaguer. He is a tyrant, and tyrants do not play by those rules. Their voracious appetite for power and insatiable lust to dominate their fellow man cannot be curtailed so easily. That is why it has taken a district court, a circuit court and the Supreme Court to try to bring Cuomo to heel.
It will require courageous men and women of all faiths to remain vigilant and continue the fight to safeguard our freedoms. However, rulings like these three against Cuomo boost our chances of success, and as far as the Catholic League is concerned, this is one man who cannot lose enough.