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Gorsuch Cites Anti-Gay Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling in Dissent Over Vaccine Mandate Religious Exemption Request

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The U.S. Supreme Court Monday afternoon rejected a request for a religious exemption for health care workers refusing to comply with New York State’s vaccine mandate. The state is requiring all health care workers to be vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus. Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the request, but three conservative jurists, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, would have granted it.

The latter, Justice Gorsuch, cited an extremely narrow ruling in the Supreme Court case of an anti-gay Colorado baker, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, in his dissent. The baker “won” his case because the court ruled local officials had displayed animus against the baker’s religion. Justice Gorsuch appeared to suggest New York’s requirement for all health care workers to be vaccinated was equally problematic.

“The legal challenge was filed by a group of 20 doctors and nurses who argued that the state’s vaccine mandate violates the First Amendment to the Constitution because it fails to include a religious exemption,” CNBC reports.

In what some may seem as a dangerous opinion and foreshadowing of similar ones to come, Justice Gorsuch says that those requesting the emergency exemption will suffer “irreparable injury” over their refusal to be vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus that to date has killed more than 800,000 people in the U.S. He made no mention of irreparable injury to the health care workers, to their families, co-workers, friends, or of course their patients should they contract and/or transmit the virus.

Justice Gorsuch writes: “no one seriously disputes that, absent relief, the applicants will suffer an irreparable injury. Not only does New York threaten to have them fired and strip them of unemployment benefits. This Court has held that ‘[t]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.'”

Here’s where Gorsuch appears to be paving the road for more faith-based decisions:

“The Free Exercise Clause protects not only the right to hold unpopular religious beliefs inwardly and secretly. It protects the right to live out those beliefs publicly in ‘the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts,'” he writes, citing case law.

“Under this Court’s precedents, laws targeting acts for disfavor only when they are religious in nature or because of their religious character are ‘doubtless . . . unconstitutional.'”

“As a result, where ‘official expressions of hostility to religion’ accompany laws or policies burdening free exercise, we have simply ‘set aside’ such policies without further inquiry. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n, 584 U. S. ___, ___ (2018) (slip op., at 18).”

“But even where such overt animus is lacking, laws that impose burdens on religious exercises must still be both neutral toward religion and generally applicable or survive strict scrutiny. … To meet its burden under strict scrutiny, the government must demonstrate that its law is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. Applying these principles to this case, New York’s mandate falters at each step.”

Gorsuch is stating that protecting the population from a quickly mutating and highly deadly virus in a two-year long pandemic is not “a compelling state interest.”

Harvard Law assistant professor Ben Eidelson weighs in on Gorsuch’s tactics:

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COMMENTARY

Fox News Host’s Inaccurate Reporting Leads to False Right-Wing Speculation Breyer Was Forced Out

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Barely minutes before 12:00 noon on Wednesday NBC News’ Pete Williams broke the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was going to announce he is retiring, at the end of the term.

Hours later Fox News host Shannon Bream breathlessly tweeted, “Multiple sources tell me Justice Breyer was not planning to announce his retirement today. They describe him as ‘upset’ with how this has played out. We still await any official notice from his office and/or the #SCOTUS public information office.”

That was 2:41 PM.

Her tweet was inaccurate – based on her own reporting, about a half-hour later.

At 3:14 PM Bream “clarified” her reporting, making clear that Justice Breyer “firmly decided” to retire on his own, and was merely “surprised” that a top-notch veteran Supreme Court reporter broke the news:

Her first tweet has received thousands of retweets and likes and led to false speculation among many right-wingers (adding to the already false claims from the far right) that President Joe Biden forced Justice Breyer out the door – something impossible (unless you do over a billion dollars in business with a bank where the son of a Supreme Court Justice works.)

Too late, the damage is done. Ordinarily many reporters will delete tweets that are inaccurate or wrong, then post the reason why, and a correction. Bream did not.

Related: Fox News Host Asks How We Can Tell ‘Bad Guys’ If We Can’t See ‘Tone Of Their Skin’?

Over at the right-wing National Review, senior writer Charles C. W. Cooke posted an article titled: “Did the Democratic Party Preempt Justice Breyer’s Announcement to Force His Hand?”

Its only content: Bream’s inaccurate tweet and the words, “It certainly seems possible.”

Here are more results of Bream’s inaccurate reporting:

Chief political correspondent, Washington Examiner and Fox News contributor Byron York:

Another Washington Times columnist and a SiriusXMPatriot personality:

Former senior advisor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

Blogger at right wing website Hot Air:

Radio talk show host:

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Watch: Trump Says He Will Be the ’47th President’ – Is He Skirting Federal Campaign Finance Law?

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In video posted Wednesday to Instagram Donald Trump appears to say he will be the “47th President,” which would indicate once again he has decided to run again.

That video (below) was also reported by the New York Post, which notes, “Trump hasn’t publicly said if he is planning to run for the White House again — but he has repeatedly teased a second campaign and has been holding rallies ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.”

The right wing PJ Media adds, “this might have been the ultimate Freudian slip,” and says it suggests a re-election campaign.

Trump has not officially announced he will run for several reasons, as Rolling Stone explained last October:

Trump very much seems like he is running for president in 2024, which according to campaign finance law should prohibit him from coordinating with super PACs like MAGAA, or his leadership PAC Save America, which together brought in north of $80 million in the first half of this year. Trump is able to coordinate with those PACs, though — and use their money to finance his travel, his campaign-style rallies, his God knows what else — because he hasn’t yet officially declared his candidacy. The former president is then, in essence, running what appears to be a shadow campaign designed to skirt campaign finance regulations while holding the still-distant race for the Republican nomination hostage.

“As long as Trump doesn’t explicitly announce he’s running for president,” Rolling Stone added, “he can essentially raise as much money as he wants from whomever he wants, and spend it unfettered by the restrictions or transparency requirements imposed upon actual candidates.”

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COMMENTARY

Whoopi Goldberg Destroys Bill Maher’s Anti-Mask Rant: ‘How Dare You Be So Flippant?’

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Whoopi Goldberg blasted HBO’s Bill Maher after the increasingly right-moving comedian declared he doesn’t want to live in pro-vaccine Americans’ “masked paranoid world” anymore.

On Monday’s “The View” Goldberg called Maher’s remarks “not really funny to people who have lost their kids” or “family members or dear friends to this,” she said, apparently meaning to COVID. (She obviously misspoke, saying the “vaccine.”)

Maher on his HBO show on Friday had said, “I don’t want to live in your paranoid world anymore, your masked paranoid world anymore, you know, you go out it’s silly now. You know you have your mask, you have to have a card, you have the booster, they scan your head like you’re a cashier and I’m a bunch of bananas. I’m not bananas you are.”

Goldberg continued, saying, “listen, nobody on the planet really wants to go through this, this is not something we’re doing because it’s, you know, sexually gratifying. This is what we’re doing to protect our families, and you don’t have to do it, but stay away from everybody. Because if you’re the one who’s not paying attention, and your confidence needs, you don’t want to then stay out of the public man. This is not, nobody wants this. I don’t want it. And I think he’s forgetting the people who are still at risk. who cannot get vaccinated. People who can’t get – little kids under the age of five. Yeah, well people with health conditions How dare you be so flippant, man?

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