New Jersey church and synagogue ask Supreme Court to lift COVID restrictions on gatherings

A New Jersey church and synagogue asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to intervene in their lawsuit alleging the state unequally applies COVID-19 restrictions to religious activities.

The petition to Justice Samuel Alito comes after a lower court rejected their attempts to file an injunction. Alito can act on the application himself or ask his colleagues to weigh in on the issue.

Wednesday's move is the latest in a series from religious entities challenging coronavirus restrictions.

Rabbi Yisrael A. Knopfler and Fr. Kevin Robinson of Saint Anthony of Padua Church filed their suits earlier this year, prompting a series of court battles.


"The First Amendment protects religious exercise from discriminatory value judgments by public authorities in the exercise of 'emergency powers,'" the application reads "More than eight months into the era of COVID-19, however, religious gatherings in New Jersey (and several other states) are still being treated unequally relative to numerous comparable secular activities."

The complaint also specifically targets the state's mask mandate, claiming it violates the Constitutional protection for Free Exercise of Religion.

The emergency application came as Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order extending the state's public health emergency, saying the state "will need the ability to do so as we battle this virus through the second wave that has enveloped our nation and our state."

Murphy's Nov. 16 executive order lowers indoor and outdoor gathering limits to 10 and 150 people respectively. For weddings, funerals, memorial services and religious and political activities, it maintained a limit of 25% capacity of the room where the gathering takes place.

Murphy's office said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.' Shannon Bream and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

TAGS: New Jersey church and synagogue ask Supreme Court to lift COVID restrictions on gatherings

26 Nov 2020 10:40   |    133


The lightning all but snatches away their sight; every time the light (Helps) them, they walk therein, and when the darkness grows on them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could take away their faculty of hearing and seeing; for Allah hath power over all things.  (The Cow   20 )


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