NEW YORK, NY – New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo violated the civil rights of New Yorkers and the constitution during the COVID-19 pandemic when they decided to openly condone political protest, but kept churches shut down with force. U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe granted a preliminary injunction that would stop the state and city from enforcing the Governor’s executive orders limiting capacity on religious services.
“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests, short of condemning their message, in the name of public health and exercised discretion to suspend enforcement for public safety reasons instead of encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,” the judge wrote. “They could have also been silent. But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”
A similar injunction was granted in North Carolina by Judge James Dever III, provided churchgoers observe social distancing guidelines. There, a group called “Return America” sued the state and won.
In other states, federal judges showed an inconsistent application of federal law and civil rights by siding with state governors.
In Delaware, a motion to overturn limits on religious services was denied in federal court by Judge Colm F. Connolly. California Governor Gavin Newsom won his fight against the constution when Judge John Mendez ruled in favor of the Governor’s executive order limiting capacity at religious services.
In Mississippi, the court ruled that the First Pentacostal Church of Holly Springs was acting recklessly after it filed a lawsuit against that city to hold indoor worship services.