MIDNIGHT VICTORY! Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Agudath Israel Against Governor Cuomo

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo shows the Supreme Court building in Washington. Controversial Trump administration policies on the census, asylum seekers and the border wall, held illegal by lower courts, are on the Supreme Court's agenda Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

ויהי בחצי הלילה: A Supreme Court ruling came down at midnight in favor of a suit brought by Agudath Israel against NY Governor Cuomo’s draconian rules against Shuls and other houses of worship. The ruling was 5-4. Chief Justice Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent.

These votes mark the first marked impact of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Court and the country.

She joined her four conservative brethren in blocking the limits whereas Justice Ginsburg anchored 5-4 majorities the other way in the spring.

“This is an historic victory. This landmark decision will ensure that religious practices and religious institutions will be protected from government edicts that do not treat religion with the respect demanded by the Constitution” said Avi Schick, the attorney for the plaintiffs who challenged Governor Cuomo’s cluster initiative.

The last sentence from Justice Gorsuch’s concurring opinion says: “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.

As YWN reported last week, Agudath Israel of America took its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, filing for an injunction to block New York’s “Cluster Initiative” against shuls and other houses of worship.

The Agudah suit was filed together with the Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills and its shul Secretary, Mr. Steven Saphirstein, and the Agudath Israel of Madison and its Rav, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, shlita.

The lawsuit raised numerous unsettling points regarding the current executive order, including clear statements that the order was intended to “target” the Orthodox Jewish community. The Agudah brief notes that the red, orange and yellow zones were first initiated exclusively against Orthodox Jewish areas, and without any metrics or scientific justification.

Moreover, the Agudah lawsuit questioned why red zone shuls are limited to 10 per building, while financial services firms, pet shops, liquor shops, and other “essential” stores can operate without any limit on numbers of employees or customers.

The very institution of fixed, arbitrary limits of 10 in red zones and 25 in orange zones, irrespective of whether the house of worship is designed for 50 or 5000, is scientifically and legally unsound.

Agudah’s lawsuit also noteed that a survey of nationwide COVID responses places NY as an outlier, targeting houses of worship for restrictions in ways that no other state has.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. I’m sure the honorable chief justice is a very chashuve individual; he is, however, a complete failure from a conservative standpoint — and is undoubtedly the greatest failure of the generally wonderful Bush administration that appointed him. Can we get a real conservative, please?! I hope the great George W. Bush is disappointed in the chief justice.

  2. WRONG. The Supreme Court did NOT rule in favor of Agudah, or anyone else. All it did was grant a temporary injunction while the case is being heard in the lower courts.

  3. I am grateful for the improved Supreme Court. Thank you President Trump. This is a victory for the
    American people, for liberty, and our Constitutional rights.
    Roberts once again trying to have it both ways. “It’s restrictive, but we don’t need to rule on it right now.” Seriously? Roberts is turning out to be an embarrassment, not because of which side he falls on but the logic of his rulings. He tries to avoid definitive rulings, hoping the problem will just go away. When he does make a definitive ruling, it’s seems like he’s more interested in not rocking the boat. He needs to Retire or grow a spine.
    Now it’s also time that we pray to Hashem for the SCOTUS to overturn the rigged and stolen presidential election and defend the American republic against its domestic enemies. Amen
    Many whistleblowers and witnesses will need federal protection because they are being threatened, “Many smoking guns” exist and will be presented to the SCOTUS.
    The criminal election fraud is coordinated, well-funded and deliberate, This is criminal theft, not just mistakes, Dems used the same theft systems to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders in 2016.
    Giuliani & Powell have mounds of evidence via signed, sworn affidavits from eyewitnesses, This is all admissible evidence in court.

  4. @Yashar: You mean the generally wonderful Bush administration — except for the war in Iraq, right? And besides the large budget deficits, correct? I will give him full credit for helping to turn around the diplomatic situation for Israel, but I would hardly qualify his administration as ‘generally wonderful’?

  5. Is sanity finally returning to America? I hope the next step is to file criminal charges against all those who illegally enforced these unconstitutional decrees. As the judges like to tell people: “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Elected, public officials, law enforcement and government employees are supposed to know the law. They can not claim ignorance or “just following orders.” Everyone, everywhere who enforced these anti-constitutional and seditious decrees must be brought to justice. If not, the rule of law and equal protection under the law are a joke.

  6. As a non-Jewish ACB has more Yiras Hashem and will receive a greater share of Olam Habah than the Jewish RBG. From my understanding, RBG was always known as the justice who sided against Torah values, traditional constitutional leadership, and did a lot of damage misrepresenting the Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s intent

  7. Please don’t forget to thank HASHEM for letting us live in a malchus shel chessed and for his hashgochoh to get this judgment.
    Above all; we must now strengthen our כבוד בית הכנסת: No mobile phones, no shmussing and no machlokes and politics in shul!

  8. Yay! More dead Jews. Make sure to carry this opinion at every COVID levaya. Read it in every Jewish hespid. A dozen refrigerator trucks with corpses in Brooklyn isn’t enough. Agudah should be ahead of the state saying that they WON’T open shuls until COVID dissipates because we care about human life and human safety and human well-being above all else. They should look down upon bike shops and liquor stores for opening (or having in-store customers as opposed to just deliveries) because they dont care as much about human life as Jewish institutions. After 120 years there will be a lot to answer for at the real Supreme Court.

  9. So, the US Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot regulate gatherings in houses of worship. That puts responsibility for virus control squarely in the hands of those who run houses of worship. What does Halachah tell us to do specifically about this pandemic? Davening is not the complete answer – we must always daven. And, yes, Hashem controls the world, but he has given all humans free will, which means we must decide whether we must do something to control the pandemic.

  10. These religious restrictions by Democrat Governors dictators have nothing to do with Wuhan-19. The same “experts” have no problem with their “science” when it comes to BLM marches and other Marxist and leftists mass gatherings. Cuomo and de Blasio just want to use Yidden as scapegoats.

    I wonder if this ruling applies to other States.

  11. OrechDin:
    Why is it ok as per the sign on a Shop Rite store, no more than 450, yes that’s four hundred and fifty, individuals at one time, but the Shule a block away can have no more than 10 people, regardless of its size?

  12. @Orechdin, there are hardly any covid levayas theses days in NYC days, we are all adults and we don’t need big brother what to do, most places made rules in regards to covid and people know what to do.

  13. Anyone remembers the “conservative” Justife John Paul Stevens, appointed by Bush #41 who became the most liberal voice in the court? We cant be smart. I have a small inkling that Roberts is out to spite Trump in any way he can. Lets just kp a watchful eye on him ubder Biden. He might come back to reality.
    Who do u people think these justices are anyway? Shlichim from Shamayam. If its a Gezeira, then theres only Tfilah.
    Thanku President Trump for the chesed shel emes of ACB.

  14. Is England under lockdown going to be inspired by this ruling to allow Shuls to reopen during lockdown, even if they have close schools & universities, which currently they don’t dare close down even in this major lockdown. {Note I asked about England rather than Britain, because Shuls in Scotland are open}.
    Meanwhile I have a private phone # & pin # to עולם-הבא (which under penalty of law, I am not allowed to disclose) and believing me, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is crying away in גיהינום over this ruling by her replacement.

  15. I remember many times hearing from Rabbonim and I also saw it in Seforim that when the time comes for Mashiach to come, Hashem is going to send him very quickly.
    Do you remember the speed of the republicans to quickly appoint the newest Supreme Court justice. She was the one who tilted it in our favor. The republicans did not know the true reason why they were in such a rush.

  16. @147: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is crying away in גיהינום over this ruling by her replacement.” lololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololol

  17. @My_Two_Cents: The war in Iraq was approved by a bipartisan congressional majority at the time. The war was started based upon valid U.S. military intelligence. GWB did not himself err there. Regarding the economy I cannot comment because I do not have any economic credentials. When I said “generally wonderful” I meant that he responded beautifully (based on the then-current intelligence) to 9/11 — and was a tremendous comforting and uniting force in the country in its wake, was the most pro-Israel president ever until DJT (and, as you imply, partially even paved the way for DJT’s love of Jews and Israel to the extent that he writes in Decision Points that the tatte, GHWB, actually referred to him — annoyedly — as the first Jewish president), was an absolute paragon of morals and responsibility and (if I’m being perfectly honest) also because he wrote a great book called Decision Points (see above) which I read several times and made me be mismalei ahavah towards him for the tremendously fair , moral and upstanding way in which he at least claims to run his life.

  18. I wondered why that Sw… Como went yesterday to Trumps side for more respect to a president, he
    smelied the Supreme Court upcoming verdict and hoped that will make
    Trump join his iniitive

  19. To MoisheIG: I should not be concerned with Halachah? Then why did I ask about it, and what, if anything, can you tell me about it. And thank you for not calling me an idiot. I’m glad to see you are improving yourself.

  20. Millhouse – this IS a temporary injunction. However, it strikes down the decision that it WAS lawful made by lower courts and hands it to the court of appeals. In the court’s opinion, it’s unconstitutional, but they can’t make a deciding ruling until the case goes through the lower courts. The court of appeals will hear it now and if they don’t strike it down, they can ask the supreme court to review the case.

  21. The Chief Justice said that we must suspend civil liberties if “experts” tell us it is necessary. This is exactly the reasoning of the majority in the 1944 Korematsu case, where the Court upheld internment of Japanese-Americans because the military “experts” said they were liable to commit sabotage.