The Supreme Court just dropped the hammer on the state of New Jersey. The state now been given a deadline to respond to a religious freedom lawsuit filed by a church and a synagogue earlier this year.
Their lawsuit alleges that the state is unfairly targeting religious organizations with its coronavirus restrictions.
Thanks to Justice Samuel Alito, state officials must now respond by 6 p.m. on December 3rd and the plaintiffs will then have a chance to respond, Fox News reported.
The lawsuit states, “The First Amendment protects religious exercise from discriminatory value judgments by public authorities in the exercise of ’emergency powers. 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.”
Courts coming for restrictions
The move comes after the Supreme Court struck down coronavirus restrictions in New York that limited the number of people who could gather for religious services. Now other states’ restrictions could be on the chopping block.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order on November 16th ordering that no gatherings of over 10 people were to take place indoors and no more than 150 people could gather for outdoor gatherings.
Weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political gatherings are all limited to 25% of room capacity. But the Supreme Court has already recognized such limitations as unconstitutional in New York, so the lawsuit has a high chance of success.
Even as New York experienced rising numbers of coronavirus cases the Supreme Court found that the restrictions were far more severe than was warranted based on the evidence provided by the state.
A notable factor in that decision to overturn New York’s restrictions was the addition of the newest Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, who voted against the state along with her conservative colleagues. Her confirmation to the court ensured that conservatives have a 5-4 majority.
Governors and public officials who have been able to get away with blatant constitutional violations in the name of “public safety” will no longer be able to run roughshod over the rights of Americans. If this lawsuit in New Jersey makes it to the Supreme Court, it is hopeful that it will be decided in the same manner as the previous case.
New era for the Supreme Court
Americans are feeling the immediate impact of President Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court appointments as they have quickly gotten to work cutting back on government overreach.
Meanwhile, the past nine months have seen some of the most draconian and brazen restrictions placed on our freedoms as governors and state authorities claim such measures are necessary to protect public health.
With President Trump possibly leaving office in January, Americans can take comfort knowing that he left us with a Supreme Court that will watch out for our freedoms for years to come.