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Sat Jun 27, 2020, 12:29 AM

Federal Judge Rules Against New York's Outdoor Gathering Restrictions

Source: New York Law Journal

A federal judge on Friday pushed back against New York stateís COVID-19 gathering limits, granting a preliminary injunction in a case that challenged restrictions on houses of worship.

U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe ordered New York officials to not enforce any outdoor gathering limitations, if people are following social-distancing requirements.

According to his order, the officials are also prevented from enforcing indoor gathering limits against the plaintiffs that are greater than restrictions placed on companies in phase two of the stateís reopening plan. That provision is also stipulated on people following social-distancing requirements.

The order is tied to a case filed earlier this month by two priests and three Orthodox Jewish residents of Brooklyn. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of New York, listed Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as defendants.

Read more: https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/06/26/federal-judge-rules-against-new-yorks-outdoor-gathering-restrictions/?slreturn=20200527002536

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Reply Federal Judge Rules Against New York's Outdoor Gathering Restrictions (Original post)
Polybius Jun 27 OP
mysteryowl Jun 27 #1
The Magistrate Jun 27 #2
Polybius Jun 27 #4
The Magistrate Jun 27 #5
Doodley Jun 27 #3
LTG Jun 27 #6
Squinch Jun 27 #7
Tom Traubert Jun 27 #8
marie999 Jun 27 #9
Igel Jun 27 #14
Tom Traubert Jun 27 #17
bucolic_frolic Jun 27 #10
Tom Traubert Jun 27 #18
billh58 Jun 27 #19
niyad Jun 27 #13
The Magistrate Jun 27 #15
moonseller66 Jun 27 #11
Igel Jun 27 #16
NickB79 Jun 27 #12

Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 12:32 AM

1. Wow, churches have some serious political and legal clout.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 12:35 AM

2. Who Appointed This Idiot, Sir?

Does the article say?

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 12:53 AM

4. No, but I looked up his name

George W. Bush on April 28, 2003.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_L._Sharpe

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Response to Polybius (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 12:59 AM

5. Thank You, Sir

I appreciate your taking the time. I should have thought of that myself.

Nowadays, unfortunately, it is necessary to presume judicial decisions are concerned more with politics than with the law. With the present regime driving so hard against public health measures, I see no reason to suspect a judge appointed by a Republican had any other consideration but party loyalty in such a decision.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 12:42 AM

3. With this level of disfunction, and inability to govern in a crisis we are all fucked.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 05:17 AM

6. Not particularly surprised

Not particularly surprised by the ruling, regardless of judge. Some might rule the other way, but many would rule with this court.

Balancing First Amendment rights against public interest laws and regulations requires the limitations be extremely necessary, but also the least restrictive measure possible. If it can meet that high bar then the restriction may meet Constitutional muster. By allowing commercial activity with social distancing The government has a battle with convincing the court to permit restricting the Constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion. Much the same with freedom of assembly and our other First Amendment freedoms.

Governors and mayors have issued various orders that fall outside their powers. Just as the President has no authority or power to issue nationwide orders to wear masks, states to close or reopen, how states run their response to the pandemic, the demonstrations or to declare martial law without the request of the governors or a complete breakdown in civil authority.

Lots of overstepping and empty threats.

Emergency war powers donít permit throwing Japanese in Internment camps against their Constitutional rights either.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 05:58 AM

7. This better be appealed. We've done a great job here in NY.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets pissed off when I see groups of unmasked people walking around.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 07:09 AM

8. Judge Sharpe is a good judge.

Maybe you all should read the court decision, or at least the articles describing it before you spouting nonsense in reaction to sensationalistic headlines?

ď U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe ordered New York officials to not enforce any outdoor gathering limitations, if people are following social-distancing requirements.Ē

Is that really unreasonable? Itís probably a good balance of protecting health and safety on one hand, and first amendment rights on the other

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Response to Tom Traubert (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 07:46 AM

9. That is what I read.

The problem is tracking all the places where people are not practicing social-distancing. That is going to be impossible.

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Response to marie999 (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 09:57 AM

14. Already is.

I've seen reported--but haven't verified--that de Blasio told contact tracers not to ask about BLM protest participation. So when reports come back that few to no cases resulted from the BLM protests ...

Granted, it's not useful contact tracing. But if you're trying to trace and come up empty, but leave out a possible source, you're left with a false conclusion.

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Response to marie999 (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 11:08 AM

17. That's not the judge's role

Itís up to the State or municipality to enforce their own social distancing laws. The role of the court is to addresses cases or controversies, and not to substitute itís judgement with respect to policy for that of the State or municipality, so long as the State or municipality acts consistent with the Constitution. Judge Sharpe issued a thoughtful and pragmatic decision. If religious services can be held safely outdoors an participants can comply with social distancing requirements, there is no reason they should disallowed. I donít see the reason for the knee-jerk response.

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Response to Tom Traubert (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 09:05 AM

10. With this pandemic

First Amendment rights can put you in a lethal position. It can kill people.

Is that really difficult to understand? It's a good use of public health regulations to prevent death of the citizenry.

It really is a good idea to recognize both sides before spouting nonsense.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 11:11 AM

18. Not the judges role.

Read the Constitution. Look at Article 3. Itís a good idea to know what you are talking about before offering opinions.

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Response to Tom Traubert (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 03:10 PM

19. Your concern is

duly noted.

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Response to Tom Traubert (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 09:54 AM

13. Welcome to DU.

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Response to Tom Traubert (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 10:02 AM

15. Apparently Not, Sir

This is the part you left out:

"...the officials are also prevented from enforcing indoor gathering limits against the plaintiffs that are greater than restrictions placed on companies in phase two of the stateís reopening plan."

That this is predicated on social distancing being maintain does not redeem it.

The privileging of 'religious freedom' over sound policy, and the truckling under to right-wing clergy, needs to stop.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 09:20 AM

11. And yet...

a major blizzard is about to strike or does strike and the governor closes roads and businesses for safety reasons!

A Hurricane allows officials, many not even governors (!) to close roads and force evacuations.

An earthquake or tornado threatens an area and everything can be shut down.

But gawd forbid being told you can't get your hair cut, etc. because of a germ you can't see. Maybe if the germ were the size of the Chicken Heart in the old Inner Sanctum Radio Broadcast, those in it's path wouldn't mind filling their pants to get out of the way and stay away until the thing was gone!

(BTW, the Chicken Heart in the Broadcast wiped out the human race! - good times!)

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Response to moonseller66 (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 10:11 AM

16. It's pointing out asymmetries in practice

where there are none in law.

You can't have the police break up a group of 11 blacks if a group of 500 whites is encouraged to meet. You can't say that it's perfectly fine for 30 people to be in a building (provided there's an adequate square footage) doing something not essential if you say that this is okay just for businesses but not, say, for union meetings or activities involving outreach to underrepresented groups.

If it's okay for people to assemble in groups of 500 for non-essential purposes, it's saying the politicians shouldn't be there judging content beyond some sort of reasonable "essential". If it's okay to have 50 people in a building of a certain size, why should it matter if they're there to hear a speaker and read something (secular, in a bookstore) or hear a speaker and read something (religious, in a church)?

Two options: You despise and see no reason to accommodate groups you don't like (in this case, Jews and religious people) or you want to confer special privileges on you do like (businesses, BLM). Asymmetries in practice are always useful in determining underlying form. It's one of the more interesting things I got from reading Chomsky.


A lot of states have emergency powers laws. They're the ones appealed to for some things. But they're "natural emergencies", and every once in a while a governor's been taken to court because the emergency laws for earthquakes and fires are written for restricted areas and short times. Even most of the health emergencies tend to speak of "buildings" instead of "counties", because they're also written for restricted areas and short time. Not months and the entire state. Those require different predicates, and very often "pandemic with 1% of the population infected" doesn't fall under any reasonable interpretation. Rather than pass a new law, a lot of governors just seize the power. "Need" and "goal" have disposed of any pretense for process--but democracy is entirely processual.

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Response to Polybius (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2020, 09:38 AM

12. Outdoor gatherings done properly no longer bother me much

If masks and social distancing are both done, the risk seems minimal. No protest-related COVID spikes have popped up after all.

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