U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has already provoked the wrath of progressives nationwide just weeks after her contentious confirmation process.
According to the Daily Wire, President Donald Trump’s latest SCOTUS appointee sided with a conservative majority on the bench when she voted this week to preserve the right of New Yorkers to worship together in groups, earning her a new nickname among some critics: “Amy Covid Barrett.”
Religious liberty at stake
In two previous cases, stemming from complaints in California and Nevada, the court sided with the government against plaintiffs seeking relief from coronavirus-related restrictions on the size of church gatherings.
Specifically, the latest ruling granted a temporary injunction against orders by Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, determining that they unfairly targeted religious communities in the state.
“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,” a majority ruling declared.
Using the designation of “red” and “orange” zones in the state to identify elevated infection rates, attendance had been strictly limited at houses of worship falling within these areas.
As the majority explained: “Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”
The Constitution in question
Throughout her confirmation hearings, Barrett was criticized for her socially conservative views and even her religious beliefs. On both sides of the aisle, there was some agreement that she would shift the balance of the court to the right in replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a noted progressive.
Wednesday’s ruling, which narrowly reversed earlier rulings including Ginsburg’s vote, bolstered those predictions.
“The governor might reinstate the restrictions,” he wrote of the subsequently relaxed restrictions. “But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”