THERE IS NO WORLD WHERE THE CONSTITUTION MAY BE PLACED ON SABBATICAL
Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
In the dead of night, a police officer attaches his camera to the end of a stick. Like the evening, his uniform is black. Quietly, he leans against the barren wall and raises his camera to the small, rectangular window about five feet above his head. Carefully, he aims the lens inside the building while turning on the remote video screen he holds in his left hand. His mission: to find out how many Jews are gathering to give homage to God.
Initially, he sees two. Then three more, and five at the corners. And then from a hallway on the opposite side of the room three more appear.
The officer looks up from the monitor to address his partners. "Thirteen," he mumbles with a smile.
"Let's get em," responds one of the partners.
Thus far, this scene, save for the electronics, is fit for an event in Poland or occupied France during World War II. In fact, the events described are set in liberal-occupied New York in 2020 under the Andrew Cuomo's oppressive regime and based on actual events that have taken place this calamitous year.
Elsewhere, a group of fifteen orthodox Jews get a knock on the door to one of their homes. It's the police. They wish to be allowed inside the house to break up an illegal gathering of worshippers. The homeowner, dressed in black and holding a Torah, physically pushes the first police officer back while advising him to get a warrant.
And in Brooklyn, a Catholic Church capable of holding a thousand people is told that only ten may inhabit it at any one time.
A world where the United States would witness Jews, Catholics, or any religious worshippers being spied on to determine their numbers would have been dismissed as paranoia just one year ago. Yet, this is the situation to which we have devolved under a mantra of fear and intimidation implemented by the godless Left, a situation whose scaffolds were constructed with a mandate implemented by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the name of controlling the spread of COVID-19.
According to Cuomo's mandate, New York's various geographical regions would be categorized according to the severity of the virus's outbreak. The most severely hit areas would be designated as "red" or "orange" with lesser-affected areas designated as "yellow." Red areas would have the toughest restrictions on such activities that Cuomo and his staff deemed non-essential. Thus, accumulations of more than 10 people in such establishments were prohibited regardless of their size or the precautions their members undertook. In areas designated as orange, gatherings were limited to 25 people. According to the Governor, essential businesses included grocery stores, liquor stores, and hardware stores. Non-essential activities included movie theaters and yes, places of worship. Thus in Cuomo's red and orange designated regions, it was possible to unrestrictedly go to the grocery store, travel to the liquor store for some wine, and stop at the hardware store without a care, but no more than 10 people could assemble in a church or synagogue, even in cases where the facility could accommodate over 1,000 people.
These are the restrictions the Supreme Court reviewed in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Andrew Cuomo, and appropriately, the Court struck it down in a per curiam opinion. The fact that this tyrannical restriction was allowed to exist for as long as it did was the result of a precedent established by the same Court in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom and Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak where the Constitution, according to the Court, was allowed to go on holiday.
But today, it is a much different Supreme Court. Back then Chief Justice John Roberts held the pieces as he vacillated between the two flanks of the Court, standing with one on one day and with the other on the next.
Today, thanks to the efforts of President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Senate, the majority is conservative, and it is Justice Clarence Thomas who has the reigns of the philosophical majority. As a result, Governor Cuomo's grossly unconstitutional mandate was struck down, and Jews as well as Christians are able to worship much more freely than they would have been allowed to otherwise. (Yes, even this last sentence is starkly menacing.)
Unquestionably, the outcome in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn would have been different if Justice Amy Coney Barrett had not been inducted. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have cast the liberal, pro-Cuomo vote in lieu of Barrett, and Roberts would have cast the crucial fifth vote to catapult the Court's Left wing over the top.
How do we know that Roberts would have cast a vote supporting the authority of Cuomo's mandate? He wrote so in his dissenting opinion. According to Roberts, the Supreme Court should not have interfered in this situation because, by happenstance, Cuomo had removed the red restrictions from the locations in questions. No ongoing harm, no foul, says Roberts.
But in the eyes of the conservative flank, as expressed in Elrod v. Burns and readopted by the Court's per curiam, ruling opinion, "The Loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury." And certainly great harm was caused here. That we should hold it acceptable for the state to insist, at risk of civil or even criminal punishment, that we stay home instead of worshiping our God who has blessed us with all that we have and all that we are is truly unconscionable. Thank God that the Court has now been properly restored to one that recognizes this undeniable truth. And, no, Chief Justice Roberts, this case is not moot.
As I wrote in my book, Coronalessons, the assault on religion and religious worship in the name of healthcare has been relentless. Yet no freedom is more sacrosanct and integral to our existence than serving God in everything that we do. Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett recognize that. Now, it's incumbent upon the pious to make sure the rest of us understand that too.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He served in the Florida House of Representatives. He is the author of numerous books including The Federalist Pages, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, and Coronalessons. He is available for appearances and book signings, and can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon living in Florida. He is a lawyer, author, and former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He is available for speaking engagements at email@example.com