“No public interest is served by maintaining an unconstitutional policy when constitutional alternatives are available to achieve the same goal,” Judge Michael Park wrote in the opinion. “The restrictions challenged here specially and disproportionately burden religious exercise, and thus ’strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.’ Such a direct and severe constitutional violation weighs heavily in favor of granting injunctive relief.”

In the 3-0 decision, the panel upheld the claims of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America, and two synagogues. The ruling enjoined Cuomo’s October 6 order capping attendance at “houses of worship.”



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