In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo (2020), the Supreme Court recently granted a preliminary injunction against (i.e. temporarily blocked) New York’s COVID-19 restrictions on attendance at houses of worship (pending further litigation), siding with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two orthodox Jewish synagogues, who argued that the restrictions violated the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. Constitutional law experts Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School and David French of The Dispatch join host Jeffrey Rosen to unpack the decision, the restrictions at issue, and broader questions including: Has the Supreme Court become more open to claims of religious discrimination? And, in the context of the ongoing pandemic, does and should the Supreme Court still apply its usual judicial tests to determine if something is constitutional? They also explain the role of prior cases crucial to understanding the modern debate in the area of religious freedom law—from Employment Division v. Smith to Masterpiece Cakeshop and beyond.
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