Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (“Orthodox Union”) applauds the ruling issued last night by the United States Supreme Court enjoining the enforcement of a New York State executive order restricting attendance at houses of worship. The Court granted the injunction by a 5-4 vote in an order issued at midnight in response to requests from two Agudath Israel synagogues and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.
The court explained that the New York State order does not appear to be neutral, but instead “single[s] out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.” In not treating religious institutions neutrally, the court found that the order failed the applicable constitutional test, known as strict scrutiny.
In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:
“With its most welcome midnight ruling, the Supreme Court upheld an essential American principle – that the government may not impose rules represented as being ’neutral’ but that are actually unfair in their treatment of religious exercise. The Orthodox Union congratulates and thanks Agudath Israel of America and the Catholic Archdiocese for advancing this fundamental Constitutional principle.
“In consideration of this important Supreme Court ruling, and in light of the severe ongoing dangers of the current pandemic, the Orthodox Union reiterates its strong encouragement that all houses of worship continue to vigorously follow applicable health guidelines and adhere to the axiomatic Judaic value and priority of protecting and preserving health and human life.”
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization.