After receiving a temporary victory from the Supreme Court, New Jersey religious leaders are celebrating their challenge against state coronavirus restrictions they say unfairly target houses of worship.
Father Kevin Robinson of St. Anthony Padua Church, who brought the case to the Supreme Court with Rabbi Yisrael A. Knopfler, called it “wonderful news” Thursday.
“We’re very grateful to the Supreme Court taking our case seriously for the common good,” Robinson told “Fox & Friends.”
Christopher Ferrara, Robinson’s Thomas More Society attorney, said the Supreme Court is following the Brooklyn Diocese case with a simple rule: “What’s good for Costco is good for church.”
“So if you have secular gatherings that don’t have capacity limitations on them or are allowed to operate at say 50%, if not 100%, the same capacity limits have to apply to churches. The court is not impressed by the argument that churches are particularly dangerous viral vectors,” Ferrara said.
Robinson said his congregation has nearly doubled with worshippers coming from other churches that have shut their doors.
“Our people are very grateful because other churches have closed or with outrageous restrictions and they’re coming to us,” he said.
The religious leaders are again pursuing an injunction after the Supreme Court vacated a district court ruling in October, instructing the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to send the case back to the district court for reconsideration in light of the New York case.
“In other words, the Supreme Court says to the lower court, you got it wrong the first time. Get it right this time in view of our decision in Brooklyn Diocese case,” Ferrara told co-host Ainsley Earhardt.
In the New York case, the religious groups claimed Gov. Andrew Cuomo unfairly targeted religious practitioners by holding services and houses of worship to a stricter standard than other “essential” services and businesses.
“The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty,” the court’s ruling in that case said.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.