Cuomo blames conservatives for Supreme Court's COVID ruling

New York Governor says Supreme Court's ruling against restrictions on places of worship will have no impact in practical terms.

Ben Ariel ,

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday blamed the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court for a decision against his state's COVID-19 restrictions on churches and places of worship.

The decision passed late on Wednesday with the court splitting 5-4, and was the first time that President Donald Trump's nomination to the court, Amy Coney Barrett, tipped the scales.

The ruling suspended rules by New York that limited capacity at places of worship, depending on the degree to which areas in the state were experiencing high waves of the coronavirus, to 10 and 25 people.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday and quoted by The Hill, Cuomo said he thinks the ruling “was really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics" and that it was making a "statement" with the vote.

“You have a different court, and I think that was the statement that the court was making. We know who he appointed to the court. We know their ideology,” he added.

Cuomo argued that in practical terms, the decision would have no impact. He said this was because restrictions in parts of New York City and the state had been eased because the number of coronavirus cases had fallen.

Tensions have been high between Cuomo and Orthodox Jewish communities over social distancing measures imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In the past, Cuomo has blamed large gatherings in the hasidic community for the spread of COVID-19, highlighting selichot prayers in Satmar-Kiryas Joel and event in Chabad-Crown Heights as examples of "social distancing violations".

Earlier this week, Cuomo called for an investigation of a mass wedding by Satmar Hasidim which was allegedly held in secret, saying that if the event was confirmed as having taken place as described “it was a blatant disregard of the law.” The synagogue where the wedding was held was subsequently fined.