The US Supreme Court has rejected the strict corona rules for places of worship in New York, following a complaint from Catholic and Jewish Church communities.
The role of new Trump-appointed judge Amy Coney Barrett was decisive.
With five to four, the Supreme Court has followed the complaint of a Roman Catholic community in Brooklyn and two Jewish Orthodox congregations in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo decided on October 6 to close non-essential stores located in regions heavily affected by the coronavirus.
Meetings in places of worship were also severely limited: in red zones to a maximum of 10, and orange zones to a maximum of 25. Some zones in Brooklyn were coloured, orange and red.
According to the religious communities, those rules violate the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to practice religion freely. They held that religions should operate under stricter conditions than secular communities and businesses, such as food stores.
A federal judge in Brooklyn dismissed that charge on October 9. Another judge in New York appealed the same on November 9. And in two similar complaints earlier this year in Nevada and California, the Supreme Court did not follow the religious communities.
But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the religious communities, by 5 to 4 votes. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by President Donald Trump after the death of Liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was the decisive Conservative vote.