Federal Judge Rules Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo Violated Religious Freedom
Democrat officials gave preferential treatment to BLM protests
A preliminary injunction was handed down to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo by U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe for violating the First Amendment after they shuttered down religious services while encouraging Black Lives Matter protests in the city.
Three Orthodox Jews and two Catholic priests joined forces earleir this month to file a lawsuit against the officials alleging their religious liberty was violated under the First Amendment (and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment).
De Blasio, Cuomo, and New York Attorney General Letitia James discourage religious gatherings in the city, but later joined large crowds of protesters in the streets for the BLM protests.
The federal judge agreed.
Judge Gary L. Sharpe ruled that the Democrat officials' restrictions on religious services had violated the rights of the plaintiffs.
Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have discouraged protests in the name of public health.
Still, instead, they encouraged what was deemed as a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules.
The officials had also sent a message that mass BLM protests are deserving of preferential treatment.
The judge ordered that state and local authorities be prevented “from enforcement of any indoor gathering limitations against plaintiffs greater than imposed for Phase 2 industries [25% of capacity] and restraint from enforcement of any limitation for outdoor gatherings against plaintiffs.”
In April, de Blasio faced backlash after singling out the “Jewish community” by threatening arrests for failing to follow social distancing guidelines.
The mayor was accused of unfairly targeting the Jewish community.
Democrat De Blasio tweeted at the time:
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed."
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
The New York Mayor also triggered outrage earlier this month after he had the gates of Borough Park, Brooklyn, the biggest park in the Jewish community, welded shut.
NYC authorities claimed they were preventing children in Jewish neighborhoods from playing because of fears of coronavirus.