Cuomo blames new conservative majority for high court's COVID-19 decision

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoGovernors say no additional vaccine doses coming, despite Trump admin promise Mississippi runs out of coronavirus vaccine as state expands eligibility Cuomo announces performance initiative to revive New York's arts economy MORE (D) is blaming the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court for a decision late Wednesday against his state's COVID-19 restrictions on churches and places of worship. 

In remarks to reporters on Thursday, 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.

The court's five conservatives, including Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster New York Girl Scouts seek to get out of lease with Trump Wall Street building Capitol Police Board — the structural flaw in leadership MORE, who was confirmed just before the Nov. 3 presidential election and replaced liberal Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd among options for 'Remember the Titans' school's new name Bipartisan anger builds over police failure at Capitol Lindsey Graham praises Merrick Garland as 'sound choice' to serve as attorney general MORE, ruled against the New York measures. Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's three liberal justices were in the minority.


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

“You have a different court, and I think that was the statement that the court was making,” the governor said, according to a report in The New York Times

“We know who he appointed to the court. We know their ideology,” he added, the Times reported.

The New York governor also 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.

Cuomo said the ruling is “irrelevant from any practical impact because the zone that they were talking about has already been moot,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Hill has reached out to Cuomo's office for comment.


New York's restrictions are determined by whether an area is labeled a yellow, orange or red zone, depending on how many coronavirus cases were recorded there.

The restrictions in New York have been heavily criticized by Catholic and Orthodox Jewish communities. Leaders of those communities hailed the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision. 

The case was sent to the Supreme Court after lower courts sided with New York.

The ruling also comes after the court previously ruled 5-4 against religious challengers in similar cases in California and Nevada earlier this year, when Ginsburg was still on the bench.