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Cardinal Dolan hails Supreme Court decision on churches, COVID-19

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan applauded the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday to block restrictions on religious gatherings that had been put in place by New York to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"Our churches are essential," Dolan wrote in one tweet in which he congratulated the groups that had brought the challenges to the New York restrictions. 

“I’d like to congratulate @BpDiMarzio and the @BrooklynDiocese on their victory for religious freedom in the U. S. Supreme Court. Our churches are essential,” Dolan wrote Thursday on Twitter.

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Dolan also wrote in a second tweet that while Catholic churches had adhered to safety measures because of the coronavirus, it was important to preserve "religious liberty."

The Supreme Court late Wednesday in a 5-4 decision suspended measures New York had instituted that limited the number of people who could attend religious services. 

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The decision marked a rightward shift for the court that ruled against the plaintiffs in similar cases this year from Nevada and California before 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 died.

A more conservative 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, is now on the court. She was nominated by President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE and confirmed by the Senate in the fall after Ginsburg's death.

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-N.Y.) criticized the decision Thursday but argued it would not have a practical effect because restrictions have been lifted as cases in New York have eased.

He said the decision showed how the Supreme Court had changed.

“I think that Supreme Court ruling on the religious gatherings is more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else,” said Cuomo. “It's irrelevant from a practical impact because the zone that they were talking about has already been moved. It expired last week. I think this was really just an opportunity for the Court to express its philosophy and politics."