And outstanding acting by JP Sears!
“Here’s my apology video to Facebook after they threatened to ban me for violating their community guidelines. With censorship, fact checkers, and the threat to be deplatformed, I now realize that speaking truth and empowering people is a direct violation of their community guidelines. I couldn’t be more sorry.”
Justice Gorsuch: Government not free to disregard free exercise of religion during Covid crisis
November 27, 2020
The following is a full text of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s concurring opinion in ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK v. ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK, in which the court struck down the governor’s Covid restrictions targeting church services
Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis. At a minimum, that Amendment prohibits government officials from treating religious exercises worse than comparable secular activities, unless they are pursuing a compelling interest and using the least restrictive means available. See Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520, 546 (1993). Yet recently, during the COVID pandemic, certain States seem to have ignored these long-settled principles.
Today’s case supplies just the latest example. New York’s Governor has asserted the power to assign different color codes to different parts of the State and govern each by executive decree. In “red zones,” houses of worship are all but closed—limited to a maximum of 10 people. In the Orthodox Jewish community that limit might operate to exclude all women, considering 10 men are necessary to establish a minyan, or a quorum.
At the same time, the Governor has chosen to impose no capacity restrictions on certain businesses he considers “essential.” And it turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores. Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too. So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians.In “orange zones,” it’s not much different. Churches and synagogues are limited to a maximum of 25 people. These restrictions apply even to the largest cathedrals and synagogues, which ordinarily hold hundreds. And the restrictions apply no matter the precautions taken, including social distancing, wearing masks, leaving doors and windows open, forgoing singing, and disinfecting spaces between services.
Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?
As almost everyone on the Court today recognizes, squaring the Governor’s edicts with our traditional First Amendment rules is no easy task. People may gather inside for extended periods in bus stations and airports, in laundromats and banks, in hardware stores and liquor shops. No apparent reason exists why people may not gather, subject to identical restrictions, in churches or synagogues, especially when religious institutions have made plain that they stand ready, able, and willing to follow all the safety precautions required of “essential” businesses and perhaps more besides.
The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as “essential” as what happens in secular spaces. Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all “essential” while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.
Nor is the problem an isolated one. In recent months, certain other Governors have issued similar edicts. At the flick of a pen, they have asserted the right to privilege restaurants, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos over churches, mosques, and temples. See Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak, 591 U. S. ___, ___ (2020) (GORSUCH, J., dissenting).
In far too many places, for far too long, our first freedom has fallen on deaf ears.
What could justify so radical a departure from the First Amendment’s terms and long-settled rules about its application? Our colleagues offer two possible answers. Initially, some point to a solo concurrence in South Bay Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, 590 U. S. ___ (2020), in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE expressed willingness to defer to executive orders in the pandemic’s early stages based on the newness of the emergency and how little was then known about the disease. Post, at 5 (opinion of BREYER, J.). At that time, COVID had been with us, in earnest, for just three months. Now, as we round out 2020 and face the prospect of entering a second calendar year living in the pandemic’s shadow, that rationale has expired according to its own terms.
Even if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical. Rather than apply a nonbinding and expired concurrence from South Bay, courts must resume applying the Free Exercise Clause. Today, a majority of the Court makes this plain. Not only did the South Bay concurrence address different circumstances than we now face, that opinion was mistaken from the start.
To justify its result, the concurrence reached back 100 years in the U. S. Reports to grab hold of our decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11 (1905). But Jacobson hardly supports cutting the Constitution loose during a pandemic. That decision involved an entirely different mode of analysis, an entirely different right, and an entirely different kind of restriction.
Start with the mode of analysis. Although Jacobson predated the modern tiers of scrutiny, this Court essentially applied rational basis review to Henning Jacobson’s challenge to a state law that, in light of an ongoing smallpox pandemic, required individuals to take a vaccine, pay a $5 fine, or establish that they qualified for an exemption. Id., at 25 (asking whether the State’s scheme was “reasonable”); id., at 27 (same); id., at 28 (same). Rational basis review is the test this Court normally applies to Fourteenth Amendment challenges, so long as they do not involve suspect classifications based on race or some other ground, or a claim of fundamental right.
Put differently, Jacobson didn’t seek to depart from normal legal rules during a pandemic, and it supplies no precedent for doing so. Instead, Jacobson applied what would become the traditional legal test associated with the right at issue—exactly what the Court does today. Here, that means strict scrutiny: The First Amendment traditionally requires a State to treat religious exercises at least as well as comparable secular activities unless it can meet the demands of strict scrutiny—showing it has employed the most narrowly tailored means available to satisfy a compelling state interest. Church of Lukumi, 508 U. S., at 546.
Next, consider the right asserted. Mr. Jacobson claimed that he possessed an implied “substantive due process” right to “bodily integrity” that emanated from the Fourteenth Amendment and allowed him to avoid not only the vaccine but also the $5 fine (about $140 today) and the need to show he qualified for an exemption. 197 U. S., at 13–14. This Court disagreed. But what does that have to do with our circumstances? Even if judges may impose emergency restrictions on rights that some of them have found hiding in the Constitution’s penumbras, it does not follow that the same fate should befall the textually explicit right to religious exercise.
Finally, consider the different nature of the restriction. In Jacobson, individuals could accept the vaccine, pay the fine, or identify a basis for exemption. Id., at 12, 14. The imposition on Mr. Jacobson’s claimed right to bodily integrity, thus, was avoidable and relatively modest. It easily survived rational basis review, and might even have survived strict scrutiny, given the opt-outs available to certain objectors. Id., at 36, 38–39.
Here, by contrast, the State has effectively sought to ban all traditional forms of worship in affected “zones” whenever the Governor decrees and for as long as he chooses. Nothing in Jacobson purported to address, let alone approve, such serious and long-lasting intrusions into settled constitutional rights. In fact, Jacobson explained that the challenged law survived only because it did not “contravene the Constitution of the United States” or “infringe any right granted or secured by that instrument.” Id., at 25.
Tellingly no Justice now disputes any of these points. Nor does any Justice seek to explain why anything other than our usual constitutional standards should apply during the current pandemic.
In fact, today the author of the South Bay concurrence even downplays the relevance of Jacobson for cases like the one before us. Post, at 2 (opinion of ROBERTS, C. J.). All this is surely a welcome development. But it would require a serious rewriting of history to suggest, as THE CHIEF JUSTICE does, that the South Bay concurrence never really relied in significant measure on Jacobson. That was the first case South Bay cited on the substantive legal question before the Court, it was the only case cited involving a pandemic, and many lower courts quite understandably read its invocation as inviting them to slacken their enforcement of constitutional liberties while COVID lingers. See, e.g., Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church v. Pritzker, 962 F. 3d 341, 347 (CA7 2020); Legacy Church, Inc. v. Kunkel, ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, ___ (NM 2020).
Why have some mistaken this Court’s modest decision in Jacobson for a towering authority that overshadows the Constitution during a pandemic? In the end, I can only surmise that much of the answer lies in a particular judicial impulse to stay out of the way in times of crisis. But if that impulse may be understandable or even admirable in other circumstances, we may not shelter in place when the Constitution is under attack. Things never go well when we do.
That leaves my colleagues to their second line of argument. Maybe precedent does not support the Governor’s actions. Maybe those actions do violate the Constitution. But, they say, we should stay our hand all the same. Even if the churches and synagogues before us have been subject to unconstitutional restrictions for months, it is no matter because, just the other day, the Governor changed his color code for Brooklyn and Queens where the plaintiffs are located. Now those regions are “yellow zones” and the challenged restrictions on worship associated with “orange” and “red zones” do not apply. So, the reasoning goes, we should send the plaintiffs home with an invitation to return later if need be.
To my mind, this reply only advances the case for intervention. It has taken weeks for the plaintiffs to work their way through the judicial system and bring their case to us. During all this time, they were subject to unconstitutional restrictions. Now, just as this Court was preparing to act on their applications, the Governor loosened his restrictions, all while continuing to assert the power to tighten them again anytime as conditions warrant. So if we dismissed this case, nothing would prevent the Governor from reinstating the challenged restrictions tomorrow. And by the time a new challenge might work its way to us, he could just change them again.
The Governor has fought this case at every step of the way. To turn away religious leaders bringing meritorious claims just because the Governor decided to hit the “off ” switch in the shadow of our review would be, in my view, just another sacrifice of fundamental rights in the name of judicial modesty. Even our dissenting colleagues do not suggest this case is moot or otherwise outside our power to decide. They counsel delay only because “the disease-related circumstances [are] rapidly changing.” Post, at 5 (opinion of BREYER, J.).
But look at what those “rapidly changing” circumstances suggest. Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have “indicated it’s only a matter of time before [all] five boroughs” of New York City are flipped from yellow to orange. J. Skolnik, D. Goldiner, & D. Slattery, Staten Island Goes ‘Orange’ As Cuomo Urges Coronavirus ‘Reality Check’ Ahead of Thanksgiving, N. Y. Daily News (Nov. 23, 2020), https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronaviruscuomo-thanksgiving-20201123-yyhxfo3kzbdinbfbsqos3tvrk u-story-html.
On anyone’s account, then, it seems inevitable this dispute will require the Court’s attention. It is easy enough to say it would be a small thing to require the parties to “refile their applications” later. Post, at 3 (opinion of BREYER, J.). But none of us are rabbis wondering whether future services will be disrupted as the High Holy Days were, or priests preparing for Christmas. Nor may we discount the burden on the faithful who have lived for months under New York’s unconstitutional regime unable to attend religious services.
Whether this Court could decide a renewed application promptly is beside the point. The parties before us have already shown their entitlement to relief. Saying so now will establish clear legal rules and enable both sides to put their energy to productive use, rather than devoting it to endless emergency litigation. Saying so now will dispel, as well, misconceptions about the role of the Constitution in times of crisis, which have already been permitted to persist for too long. It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.
Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional
September 14, 2020
A federal judge in Pittsburgh on Monday ruled that orders issued by Gov. Tom Wolf restricting the size of gatherings and closing nonessential businesses to protect against the spread of covid-19 were unconstitutional. …
U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV wrote in his 66-page opinion that, even though the actions taken in the spring by Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine were laudable, they violated the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly, and the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
AMAZING Google whistleblower: massive censorship coming pre-election to create massive outcome doubt. 70% of his coworkers were Chinese nationalists who would be deported back to China if they don’t subvert the US. Use safer platforms, especially Telegram and Signal; also Gab and Parler (not quite as good).
ProtonMail has end-to-end encryption when talking with another ProtonMail user.
JP SEARS does SERIOUS interviews!
“Speech censoring is becoming frighteningly common. What is really going on and what can you do? Here’s my in depth interview with, Brian Rose of London Real, the man leading the charge!
JP tells his censorship story at 1:04:30!
She is amazing! On fire here! 1st Amendment truth!
Notice: the flu vaccine in the past three years combined has only prevented 10% of the flu deaths.
Good to hear, and that one pastor in CA already has tried to do the right thing, obeying God instead of man, like Rodney Howard-Browne did, defending the Constitution, which couldn’t be more clear.
Defying state coronavirus order, a thousand pastors plan to hold in-person services for Pentecost
More than 1,200 pastors have vowed to hold in-person services on May 31, Pentecost Sunday, defying a state moratorium on religious gatherings that Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Continue reading “Defying state coronavirus order, a thousand pastors plan to hold in-person services for Pentecost”
Sheriff Mack Calls on Sheriffs: America Has Become A Catastrophe, We Need Action! Continue reading “Sheriff Mack: Only S.D. Governor Noam did not violate her oath of office to uphold the Constitution!”
Most pastors walk according to the flesh and not according to the Holy Spirit, Who would have pastors stand against this unconstitutional tyranny.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST Jesus, who don’t WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT” – Romans 8:1.
“We will see eventually that this government’s imposed cure is going to be as the disease itself.”
Dr. Jeffrey Barke’s impressive bio:
Dr. Jeffrey I. Barke, MD, a family practice physician based in Newport Beach, CA speaks out on the COVID-19 madness gripping the country during a rally in Riverside, CA. This doctor represents thousands like him that are being systematically silenced by Big Tech, MSM, and government “experts”. Main points made by the doctor are as follows:
-Quarantining the healthy does not save lives
-Face masks are not effective
-Never in our history have we quarantined the healthy
-The U.S. Constitution was not designed to restrain the people but rather the government
-Governor Newsom has stepped on our freedoms
-The fatality rate of COVID-19 is in the ballpark of a bad seasonal flu
-We get over this virus by achieving herd immunity
-We can never achieve herd immunity by keeping the herd quarantined
-It’s time we allow the young and healthy to open the doors and get back to work
Dr. Jeffrey Barke Speaks Out on COVID…
“Paul said, in the face of a brutal government, to obey. He didn’t say obey if your rights are recognized, he said obey.”
Sunday, 10 May 2020
Churches Refuse to Cower Before Caesar; Court Victory in Kentucky
Some churches are suing. Some are asking permission to reopen in-person church services. Some are announcing they are opening in-person church services — with or without the government’s permission. Continue reading “Churches Refuse to Cower Before Caesar; Court Victory in Kentucky – 1st Amendment Stand!”
Facebook’s new commissar of content is Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford University law school professor who described herself as a “snarky, bisexual, Jewish women” No biases here. Just full blown university style political correctness imposed on everyone, by Mr. Zuckerberg, who stole the idea for facebook from the Winkelvoss twins with Larry Summers’ assistance while at Harvard.
“She was not convicted of violating Governor Abbott’s guidelines, because they’re just guidelines. They don’t have the force of law. … The judge has no more authority to close her business than the governor does. Neither of them do. Shelley is an American hero for refusing to bend the knee to the two bit hack in a political black robe….”
City demands churches turn over names, addresses, phone numbers!
Officials want information for ‘surveillance’ of members
Governors and mayors across the nation have claimed that their emergency powers allow them to ban large groups during the coronavirus pandemic. They don’t want groups gathering in malls, movie theaters or even churches, despite the constitutional protection of religious rights.
Now one official is moving into extreme territory, demanding churches provide him with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of anyone who shows up to worship.
Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver noted Kansas City is requiring that churches “submit list of members and attendees along with their names, addresses and telephone numbers to city officials for tracking and surveillance purposes.“
“I am running out of adjectives to describe how completely insane the tyrannical abuses launched by state governors and local officials against pastors and churches are becoming,” he said in his newsletter. “It is as if these leaders never bothered to so much as glance at the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend. They seem to be governing from some make-believe, dystopian viewpoint.”
He said the order also applies to businesses, but that doesn’t make it any more constitutional.
JANUARY 9, 2019
One of the core purposes of the First Amendment is to allow people, regardless of their views, to hold the government accountable through expression. So, if your elected representative has an official Facebook page where she invites comments, can she block you from commenting because you criticize her work?
According to a federal appeals court, the answer is a resounding no.
On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the interactive portion of a public official’s Facebook page is a “public forum,” so an official cannot block people from it because of the opinions they hold.
A real-life hero!
Quotes I transcribed from this interview:
“People have given up their freedoms for fear.”
“If we have a second wave, it’s because we’ve sheltered in place.”
“This is crushing Americans, and is stomping on our freedoms.”
At 14:15, mother handcuffed for taking her children to the park!
California County Threatens to Jail Worship Teams Over Online Church Services
Mendocino County in Northern California is restricting churches from streaming worship singing and the playing of wind instruments in online church services unless the worship originates from individual residences. Continue reading “California County Threatens to Jail Worship Teams Over Online Church Services”
Judge Nap says coronavirus restrictions part of ‘the slow death of civil liberties’
“Your analysis of Governor Whitmer could apply to nearly all the remaining 49 governors who assume that they have the power to crush individual liberties, violate the Constitution, and write laws,” Napolitano told Carlson. …
“We are witnessing the slow death, the death in slow motion of civil liberties.”
“There would have to be a rational basis to articulate it, but when the executive branch takes upon itself the role of not just enforcing the law, but of making up new ones and in the process crushes basic fundamental liberties like the right to travel and the right to worship — never mind on Easter Sunday but — any time you want to worship — we are witnessing the slow death, the death in slow motion of civil liberties,” Napolitano warned.
“These governors, these petty tyrants, will use this power again and again until some courageous federal court or an outraged public stops them,” he added. …
In a Fox News op-ed last week, Napolitano accused some state and local leaders, “particularly in the Northeast and the West Coast,” of handing down “decrees that are as profoundly unconstitutional as Lincoln’s efforts to silence dissent [during the Civil War].”
Napolitano said he hoped more people would understand that that “basic human liberties” can’t be revoked “by the command of governor or mayor” and be outraged by what is going on.
“Hopefully, it will be outrage stirred up by the type of reporting that you and some of our colleagues have begun to be doing,” he told Carlson. “Basic human liberties are guaranteed in the Constitution. They can’t even be taken away by the vote of the legislature, much less the command of a governor or a mayor.”
“These executive orders look like orders and sound like orders. They are just guidelines,” Napolitano added. ” … There cannot be a criminal sanction because they are at their root just the whim of those in power intended to enhance their power, but they are not valid expressions of constitutional documents.”
Joining a lawsuit by a Baptist church, the U.S. Justice Department is warning officials in Greenville, Mississippi, they must recognize “there is no pandemic exception to the fundamental liberties the Constitution safeguards” in their response to the coronavirus.
“Individual rights secured by the Constitution do not disappear during a public health crisis,” the DOJ said in a brief filed in a case brought by Temple Baptist Church against the city. Continue reading “Church Rights: ‘There is no pandemic exception to the fundamental liberties the Constitution safeguards’”
Constitution Dies Of Coronavirus
April 6th, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to sources at the National Archives, doctors rushed the United States Constitution to the hospital and were forced to hook the document up to a ventilator after it began having trouble breathing Sunday afternoon.
The document reportedly slipped into a coma en route to the emergency room and was in critical condition for many hours. Doctors confirmed the worst: the founding document of our nation was infected with the novel coronavirus. Finally, surrounded by one or two mourners, as most people in Washington abandoned it a long time ago, it slipped away Sunday night.
“Between both political parties constantly trampling all over the Bill of Rights and stretching and distorting the Constitution for political gain whenever it’s convenient, I just don’t know how much more abuse it could have taken,” said one doctor as he pronounced the Constitution’s time of death: 20:20, ironically.
The 232-year-old Constitution has had its share of health scares, nearly being killed in the 1860s, the 1930s and 40s, and the early 2000s, but medical experts say this last crisis was just more than it could take.
“It had many underlying conditions, of course, already being incredibly sick with Obamacare, Obergefell, Roe v Wade, the Patriot Act, and many more diseases,” said the doctor. “But it’s still sad to see this old boy pass on.”
The Constitution’s close relatives, including the Declaration of Independence, simply asked for Americans to send “thoughts and prayers” during this time of mourning.