When Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, conservatives hoped Trump permanently reshaped the Supreme Court.
And this is exactly what they had in mind.
That’s because Amy Coney Barrett crushed a top Democrat with one brutal ruling.
In a five to four decision with Amy Coney Barrett casting the deciding vote, the Supreme Court put a stop to California Governor Gavin Newsom using the coronavirus pandemic to discriminate against religious gatherings.
In this case, the issue at hand was the state of California’s limits on indoor gatherings for Bible study programs.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lockdown measures to limit Bible study, and in a terse opinion the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and also set about creating a precedent that will hold far-reaching implications.
“The Ninth Circuit’s failure to grant an injunction pending appeal was erroneous,” the majority wrote.
In the opinion, the majority drew a line in the sand on not allowing government to discriminate against religious activities by treating comparable secular activities with a separate standard.
“This Court’s decisions have made the following points clear. First, government regulations are not neutral and generally applicable, and therefore trigger strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause, whenever they treat any comparable secular activity more favorably than religious exercise,” the justices in the majority argued.
The justices listed a number of business activities that California placed looser restrictions on than in-home Bible studies.
“California treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts, and indoor restaurants,” the opinion continued.
Finally, the justices expressed their annoyance with the number of times they had to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s erroneous rulings treating the free exercise of religion as a disfavored activity.
“This is the fifth time the Court has summarily rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise,” the justices wrote.
This was the first case where it became clear that Amy Coney Barrett truly swung the balance of the Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts continued his turn to the left by once against siding with the Court’s three liberals to argue that government held the authority to ban religious gatherings because in their view, the First Amendment does not exist in times of a pandemic.
If Ruth Bader Ginsburg still sat on the bench or Joe Biden picked her replacement, government-sanctioned discrimination against religion would be enshrined in American law.
Instead, because Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the left’s assault on the free exercise of religion was dealt a crushing blow.
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