The case is the latest pitting religious groups against city and state officials seeking to stop the spread of Covid-19 and highlights the impact of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Court. It comes as Covid-19 related cases are spiking across the country.
In the late-night ruling, Barrett sided with the conservatives in the dispute, while Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent. The ruling underscores Barrett’s impact on the bench, reflecting the Court’s rightward shift.
Last spring and summer, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was still alive, the court split 5-4 on similar cases, with Roberts and the liberals in the majority siding against houses of worship. Barrett was confirmed in October to take Ginsburg’s seat.
The contentious order, released just before midnight on Thanksgiving eve, featured several separate opinions and some contentious language.