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Second Circuit Review: SCOTUS Overrules Second Circuit on COVID-19 and Religious Worship

December 22, 2020

Litigation of counsel Martin Flumenbaum and firm chairman Brad Karp’s latest Second Circuit Review column, “SCOTUS Overrules Second Circuit on COVID-19 and Religious Worship,” appeared in the December 22 issue of the New York Law Journal. The authors compare and contrast the approaches of the Second Circuit and Supreme Court in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo. The Second Circuit viewed religious services as comparable to schools and restaurants, and did not view them as comparable to activities deemed “essential.” The Supreme Court, on the other hand, questioned Governor Cuomo’s distinction between essential and non-essential activities, and ultimately concluded that the state order treated secular activities more favorably than religious ones. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, if the Second Circuit is again called upon to consider whether a state’s COVID-related actions infringe upon individual rights, we may see a greater level of scrutiny and less deference to states. Litigation associate Sondra Saporta assisted in the preparation of this column.

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