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A Brooklyn federal judge on Friday denied a request by the Diocese of Brooklyn to block new state coronavirus restrictions that limit capacity at some churches in the borough.

The ruling by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis stemmed from the lawsuit brought against Gov. Andrew Cuomo by the diocese, which claims their First Amendment rights are being violated by the restrictions affecting coronavirus hotspots in swaths of Brooklyn and Queens.

In denying the diocese’s request for a preliminary injunction as the court case proceeds, Garaufis acknowledged the state mandates harm religious groups.

But if the rules help prevent a new round of coronavirus infections, it would not be in the public interest to block them, the judge said.

“In fact, if the court issues an injunction and the state is correct about the acuteness of the threat currently posed by hotspot neighborhoods, the result could be avoidable death on a massive scale like New Yorkers experienced in the spring,” Garaufis wrote.

The restrictions imposed by Cuomo on Oct. 6 limit capacity in houses of worship that are in state-designated coronavirus zones.

Churches in the “red zone,” the state’s most restrictive, would be limited to 10 people maximum.

Garaufis wrote in his decision that it was clear the state’s restrictions had been “guided by science, not a desire to target religious practice.”

The diocese had argued that churches have implemented successful safety measures and there hasn’t been a big increase in cases among its congregants.

“The State has completely disregarded the fact that our safety protocols have worked and it is an insult to once again penalize all those who have made the safe return to Church work,” Nicholas DiMarzio, the Bishop of Brooklyn, had said in a statement.

With Post wires 

News Source: newsbrig.com

Tags: of brooklyn

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More judges block Trump order to exclude undocumented immigrants in House seats count

For the second time in two months, a panel of federal judges on Thursday blocked President Donald Trump’s effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted during the process of divvying up congressional seats by state.

The decision from a panel of three district judges in California went further than last month’s ruling by a panel of three federal judges in New York by saying that Trump’s order in July not only was unlawful but also violated the Constitution. The New York judges ignored the question of the order’s constitutionality and just said it was unlawful.

“The policy which the Presidential Memorandum attempts to enact has already been rejected by the Constitution, the applicable statutes, and 230 years of history,” the judges in California wrote.

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