Coronavirus

Roberts Accuses Kavanaugh of Judicial Activism in Coronavirus Church Closure Case

"Although California's guidelines place restrictions on places of worship," Roberts wrote, "those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment."

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The constitutional showdown over coronavirus church restrictions has driven a deep wedge between Chief Justice John Roberts and his fellow Republican appointees on the Supreme Court.

On Friday the Court rejected a California church's efforts to block the enforcement of a state order that allows shopping malls and certain other businesses to reopen at 50 percent capacity while allowing churches to reopen at just 25 percent capacity. According to the South Bay United Pentecostal Church and its legal team, that differential state treatment violates the religious liberty secured by the First Amendment.

Four justices were prepared to take the church's side. According to the Supreme Court's order on application for injunctive relief in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, "Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, and Justice Kavanaugh would grant the application."

Writing in dissent, Kavanaugh, joined by Thomas and Gorsuch, spelled out his reasoning. "California's latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular business," he declared. "California already trusts its residents and any number of businesses to adhere to proper social distancing and hygiene practices. The State cannot 'assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work or go about the rest of their daily lives in permitted social settings.'"

That dissent drew a sharp rebuke from the chief justice. "Although California's guidelines place restrictions on places of worship," Roberts wrote, "those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment." According to Roberts, the state's treatment of churches is not actually dissimilar from its treatment of "comparable secular gatherings…where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time," such as concerts and movie theaters. The state "exempts or treats more leniently only similar activities," he argued, "such as operating grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods."

Roberts then accused Kavanaugh and the other dissenters of judicial activism. "Our Constitution principally entrusts '[t]he safety and health of the people' to the politically accountable officials of the States 'to guard and protect,'" the chief justice wrote. And those politically accountable officials, he insisted, "should not be subject to second-guessing by an 'unelected federal judiciary,' which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people."

This is not the first time the chief justice has accused his opponents of judicial activism in a hot button constitutional case. When Roberts led the Supreme Court in upholding Obamacare's individual mandate in 2012, for example, he justified his decision as an act of deference to the elected officials that brought the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to life. "It is not our job," Roberts said in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, "to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."

Roberts struck an equally deferential pose three years later when the Court recognized the constitutionality of gay marriage. Writing in dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, the chief justice attacked the majority for second-guessing the wisdom of those democratically accountable lawmakers that prohibited same-sex unions. "Allowing unelected federal judges to select which unenumerated rights rank as 'fundamental'—and to strike down state laws on the basis of that determination—raises obvious concerns about the judicial role," Roberts declared.

The question of when and how the Supreme Court should act in constitutional cases is one of the most important debates in American law. The side that favors judicial deference clearly has a friend in John Roberts.

Related: "Coronavirus Cases Pit Constitutional Rights Against Public Health Authority."

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  1. Can the government coerce Amish and Christian Scientists to receive vaccinations? When does public health trump the free exercise of religion?

    1. Can aliens be required to use turn signals on the highway? Can bunny rabbits be required to possess a valid hopping license? Enquiring minds want to know.

      1. Amish people and Christian scientist actually exist you fucking knob.

        And no, you don’t have a right to force them to do something against their will.

        1. They exist? Golly. Then why aren’t they protesting the imminent threat of government mandated vaccinations???

          Answer – Because they are smart enough to understand the difference between some moron wrestling a strawman they invented – and REALITY.

          It is a distinction that is quite difficult for our resident virtue signalling ‘libertarian’ R’s.

          1. Then why aren’t they protesting the imminent threat of government mandated vaccinations???

            Because they have an exemption.

            1. And when those exemptions started getting overturned, they did protest.

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              2. AHAHAHAHA OMFG you crushed him

          2. I’ll admit that I didn’t get what you meant. My bad, and sorry for calling you a fucking knob.

        2. So do bunny rabbits. I have 4 of them.

          And no, you don’t have a right to force them to do something against their will.

          But there is a ‘right’ to force someone to not attend church?

          1. Absolutely not. I think I misunderstood the intent of Jfree’s post.

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    2. In response to the first question, has been a SCOTUS ruling on the issue? It seems to me that rules applied uniformly should be applied uniformly.

      I mean, if some Amerindian tribes can’t spoke peyote in rituals, then why should the Amish be able to refuse vaccinations?

      The requirement for vaccinations to attend public schools does not affect those not attending public schools. That leaves the Amish out. I do recall some court cases over Christian Scientists, but I only see vaccination waivers for the woke anti-vaxxers in places like Santa Monica.

      1. I mean, if some Amerindian tribes can’t spoke peyote in rituals,

        They can, though.

        1. AHAHAHAHA wrecking them!

      2. The requirement for vaccinations to attend public schools does not affect those not attending public schools.

        Actually, under the soon-to-pass SB-163 in Colorado, it *will* affect homeschoolers. And already, most states require vaccination to attend private schools, summer camps, etc. So you don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about.

        (Further established by your bullshit peyote remark, which, as SQ mentioned, is a lie.)

  2. Constitutional rights, sadly, do NOT have a friend in Roberts.

    1. You don’t have a constitutional right to kill, maim, or make seriously ill other people, even if you do it via stupidity.

      1. And that statement, you frightened little worm, has fuckall to do with the article being discussed by the adults in the room.

      2. But no one is forcing people to attend or congregate. Those who feel they are at risk can stay home and not attend. Why stop people who are willing to take risk?

        1. To limit the demand for emergency medical services and to protect those who will be infected by attendees. You know, the usual reasons.

          When California instituted mandatory motorcycle-helmet wearing, there was much yelping about this being an attack on liberty. I wrote a satirical proposal to change the law thus: if you are not wearing a helmet, you get no help from the state if anything goes wrong. Thus, when the Highway Patrol sees a crashed motorcycle by the side of the freeway, they stop and check it out as follows: “Has he got a helmet? No? Let’s go, then. He asked for it.”

          As with all satire, a bunch of readers took this idea quite seriously, proposing a private ambulance service for which such motorcyclists would pay out of pocket. I doubt they actually figured out how much the private service and the private hospitals needed for it would raise the premium to, however.

          1. “To limit the demand for emergency medical services and to protect those who will be infected by attendees. You know, the usual reasons.”

            So, bullshit reasons. Got it.

      3. Apparently you do if you have AIDS.

        1. I think “gay plague” is the religious term.

          1. Apt, and descriptive too.

      4. If someone is trying to kill you you definitely have the right to kill them.

      5. Well, there goes your socialist dream then.

      6. “You don’t have a constitutional right to kill, maim, or make seriously ill other people, even if you do it via stupidity.”

        …but enough of the riots…

    2. I am aware of no religion, prior to the pandemic, making it a requirement for church attendance to be socially close and free of masks. The idea that one’s religion requires them to close physical contact with other congregants not wearing masks is a brand new idea. As in less than two months old.

      Church services were suspended during the Spanish Flu. They were suspended during the Polio pandemic. In the Black Death statues of Saint Mary were placed outdoors because the churches and cathedrals themselves were shuttered.

      The notion that the Christian faith requires mass social gatherings in close proximity without protection is bogus. It may be traditional, but it’s not a requirement.

      1. In a free society, it’s not for you to judge what other people’s religions require

      2. Heck, these legislatures should go attend a catholic mass sometime.

        99% of the time there’s, like, 5 people in attendance.

      3. Its also not about just Christianity. There are other religions out there.

      4. Depends on which saint is preaching. St Thomas not so much, but St John yes you had to attend to find God. It is the Gospel according to John became part of the New Testiment and Thomas’ didn’t.

      5. well as has been proven you’re a poorly informed idiot

    3. Thanks a lot, Dubya!

  3. >> Chief Justice John Roberts and his fellow Republican appointees

    we perpetuating the myth W was some kind of conservative or constitutionalist?

    1. Bush II was a rural Southern Christian yokel. If that isn’t a conservative, I don’t know what one is. Every urban intellectual reader of the New York Times newspaper I know votes Democrat.

      1. >>rural Southern Christian yokel

        nah W’s Connecticut all the way … the drawl is theatre

        1. Growing up during the 2000’s, I always watched Jon Stewart make fun of Bush’s folksy personality. I wonder if Bush would have gotten a second term if the media attacked him as a blue-blooded Yankee carpetbagger instead of a bumbling Christian yokel. Bush and Trump are certainly more talented at the political kabuki theater act than most politicians.

          1. “He tried ta kill ma daddee” much more effective than “Saddam attempted to eliminate Papah”

      2. C’mon everyone knows they both only read the front page.

      3. Bush II is from fething Connecticut.

    2. Nah, we’re perpetuating the myth that all politicians can fit neatly into either the liberal bag or the conservative bag

      1. yeah bound to be a bag *all* the politicians will fit into.

        1. Hopefully plastic, with a nice tight seal.

    3. A hell of a lot more conservative than the current inhabitant at 1600 Pennsylvania! Also, Republican != conservative. It would be nice if they were, but they are not. When your brand of conservatism includes the ability to redefine conservatism whenever it’s convenient, then it’s not really conservatism.

      1. American conservatives conserve and defend whatever progressives came up with a few decades earlier. Even conservative anti gay and anti minority stances were just warmed over progressive ideology from the early 20th century.

  4. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    I am just a dumbass who can barely read English, but I don’t see ‘unless the government thinks they have a good reason’ exception to this.

    1. I get this was a state regulation, but isn’t the 1st amendment incorporated against the states (that is, the states can’t have laws the violate the freedoms guaranteed by the federal constitution)?

      1. Only when it’s convenient. Some states had establishment churches, Connecticut had one until the 1830s.

        1. That was before the 14th Amendment, which incorporates many (but not all) federally established constitutional rights into state law. In this case, however, application of the 14A was not required. All the original states except Rhode Island (specifically founded on the principle of religious tolerance) and Pennsylvania and Delaware (founded by Quakers) had established churches, but all except Connecticut had abolished them by 1791.

          Connecticut was governed by essentially the same written constitution from 1639 to 1818, first as the Fundamental Orders agreed upon by the first few towns along the river, then as a royal charter, and finally as a state constitution. Indeed, Jonathan Trumbull took office as Governor of the Connecticut Colony in 1769 and retired as Governor of the State of Connecticut in 1784, having been properly re-elected each year. Ned Lamont, the present governor, is the 89th, because the official 1st governor is John Haynes 1639-1640.

          Overall it’s hardly surprising that a constitution dating from the 17C would be full of inherited 17C ideas like an established religion and the supremacy of the General Assembly in all matters legislative, executive, and judicial. Part of the incentive for writing the Constitution of 1818 was to remove some of these features as being out of touch with the United States generally.

          By the 1720s Connecticut (and also Massachusetts) had relieved those who belonged to other churches and tithed to them from church taxes, so at least they were not paying for two churches. Of course, Connecticutensians who lived too far from the church they wished to join, or who wished not to join any, were out of luck financially on this system. After 1818, churches could impose a tax, whose rate was chosen annually by the members of that church, but whose collection was enforced by the state. Complete separation of church and state came in two phases, 1824 and 1833.

          Perfectly democratic and liberal Germany runs on almost the same system to this day, as do Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy; the tax is applied only to registered church members, dates from the late 19C, and is at least in form compensation for the 19C seizure of church buildings and land by the state.

      2. The discussion doesn’t even matter. I haven’t read every state constitution, but every single state constitution I’ve read protects freedom of religion. So there’s not even a need to discuss incorporation of federal rights to the state level.

    2. “Ha! We’re not Congress! Gotcha!”

    3. Well, that actually is less clear then “shall not be infringed”, and we know what ‘common sense’ looks like now.
      Roberts would be OK with requiring background checks and permit fees, and local law enforcement veto of what is jokingly referred to as ‘first amendment rights’.

    4. Activist judges wrote that exception into ever single right when we weren’t looking. Look for the phrase “compelling government interest” to find examples. For example, look at Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz and United States v. Martinez-Fuertea. In both cases the court acknowledged checkpoints were warrant-less stops and thus violated rights, but it was OK because the government really wanted to.

      But now it’s “judicial activism” to consider it might be wrong to do so.

      1. Yeah. Both cases are really bad. I don’t remember a “But drunk driving” clause to the Fourth Amendment. I’m surprised they ruled the way they did on City of Indianapolis v. Edmund Guess drugs aren’t as bad as drunk driving. Nor do I remember reading the Founders were cool with searching people 100 miles inland for compliance with import duties.

        Somebody just needs to air Roberts’s dirty laundry already and get him to leave. What a craven sack of crap he’s turned out to be.

    5. There are limits to that, which is why there are restrictions on Santeria performing animal sacrifices and Mormons engaged in polygamy.

      It can be a sticky area. During prohibition there was an exception for sacramental wine. But generally speaking, the government is allowed to create laws that are applied uniformly without regard to religion. As such, the government may NOT target a religion with a law, but it may pass laws that apply to everyone equally that do not unduly hinder the exercise of religion. Such as temporary prohibitions against mass gatherings in close proximity.

      Besides, those that are demanding such mass gatherings are claiming to be from a religion that has not such requirement.

      1. The limits are supposed to be on the government, not on the limits we can put on the government.

      2. But we’re told that gay marriage is necessary even though the old marriage laws were applied uniformly.

        There’s nothing uniform about why some things are legal and other similar things aren’t. Its completely down to what the deciding judges think is ‘icky’.

  5. The question of when and how the Supreme Court should act in constitutional cases is one of the most important debates in American law.

    Wrt “when”, one might suggest “always”.

    1. Yeah, you’d think “every damned time” would be a solid rule of thumb. Otherwise, SOME Constitutional violations are OK.

      If only the Court treated actual rights with half the respect they treat abortion.

      1. Well, which is more important, stuff the court make up, or old words on a piece of parchment from bygone days?

  6. [Politicians] “should not be subject to second-guessing….” “It’s not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
    By this logic I’m not sure why Roberts bothers to get into the facts of cases.

  7. Next, John Roberts rules that burning down buildings and looting all the sneakers from the Nike outlet counts as protected free speech.

    1. No, he’ll say because they didn’t have to burn or loot, that is really the same a peaceably assembling, so its unconstitutional to prohibit it.

  8. I can’t figure out what Roberts thinks the role of the Court is.

    1. Roberts is the definition of an empty suit. He seems to completely lack any soul or sense of moral values other than his own desire to be liked and respected. Roberts sees the role of the Court as a means of giving Roberts respect and adoration.

      When you understand that, his opinions suddenly make sense.

    2. To cut him a check for the rest of his life?

    3. To give the state whatever it wants.

    4. replaced O’Connor. keeping in line w/her baffling nature.

    5. he’s a career politician, he just doesn’t need to worry about being re-elected. Instead, he gets to worry about who owes him what favors for choosing to tip the scale one way or the other.

    6. I think he is very cognizant that Chief Justice is a very different role than Associate Justice. And it is not Majority Leader or Whip of the R judges.

      Whether he is effective or not, idk. But seems to me, he clearly decided that once he was nominated to be Chief Justice to replace Rehnquist that his ‘case studies’ for that job changed.

      1. Stuff your PANIC!!! flag up your ass, stick first and sit on it, you cowardly piece of lefty shit.

    7. I can’t figure out what Roberts thinks the role of the Court is.

      Neither can he.
      Roberts is on course to make more fucked up decisions than Earl Warren.
      There’s only one mention of Chief Justice in the constitution, “the chief justice shall preside over the Senate during any impeachment trial of the President”
      If I were Trump and another vacancy occurs I would proclaim the next nominee to be Chief Justice. I’d love to see the chaos that ensues.

      1. >>Roberts is on course to make more fucked up decisions than Earl Warren

        this. which would be funnier if we weren’t living through Roberts’ reign of idiocy.

      2. Amy Barrett!

        “If I were Trump and another vacancy occurs I would proclaim the next nominee to be Chief Justice. I’d love to see the chaos that ensues.”

        That would be fucking hilarious.

    8. I don’t know either.

      The courts whole job is to protect rights, NOT what some elected officials think.

    9. He seems to think the role of the court is as an adjutant to the Legislative and Executive branches where the court sorts out the legal justifications and foundations for actions the L and E branches want to take but were too lazy to build on themselves.

  9. Roberts view of what judicial activism is skewed. Overturning a law is not, in itself, judicial activism. A judge rewriting legislation is, which is what Roberts did in the ACA case when no one was arguing or had the understanding prior to his saving throw that the penalty for the individual mandate was a tax.

    1. Exactly that. Judicial activism is results based jurisprudence. It exists independent of whether the activism is striking down a law or upholding a law.

      1. Well, every decision has results, and thus whiny bitches complaining that they didn’t get the results they wanted.

        You apparently want churches to have special exemptions–against the will of elected legislative officials–to spread coronavirus unchecked, because freedom blah blah blah whatever.

        But what I really think you want is to totally own the godless libtards by winning a trifle in an endless stupid game. Do you think maybe you morons could go fuck up someone else’s country?

        1. You haven’t seen John post obviously. He doesn’t want any lockdowns like most non chicken littles do.

        2. I find it hilarious that “Reason”‘s most partisan leftist commenter is now defending an R-appointed judge. Tony must wrap his head in duct tape to keep the cognitive dissonance from exploding his skull.

          1. One of my favorite recent Tony moments was when he was lecturing us that we should be agreeing with him because he was on the same side of an issue as Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

            1. Larf! I forgot about that.

              Because we libertarians often side with Ann Coulter.

              1. I live in optimism that libertarians won’t be more unreasonable than Ann Coulter.

              2. Because we libertarians often side with Ann Coulter.

                Reflexively.

                1. Have you received your daily Ann Coulter talking points SQ? Soooo libertarian!

                  1. I’m just glad I know what to think. We hate Trump this week, right?

                    1. Yep, Orange Man Bad!

                      I love it when “Reason” and Ann Coulter agree. It makes writing my libertarian newsletter so much easier.

        3. Given that the “free exercise of religion” clause exists, and if “separation of church and state” is a thing, it means the state has no authority to dictate practices to religious organizations.

          1. Well that’s just false. You can’t do human sacrifice no matter how hard you believe in it.

            And frankly you should feel ashamed for encouraging the gullible to do so in the name of owning the libtards.

            1. You can’t do human sacrifice no matter how hard you believe in it.

              Explain why without using the NAP.

              1. Because murder under cover of religion is still murder. A religion might declare one of its principles to be that all property is held in common, but its members would still be prosecuted as thieves and trespassers.

            2. My point was that there is a special exemption for religion from government diktats. What elected legislatures and executives can legally do with regards to them is limited.

    2. Exactly correct. What is the point of judicial review at all if laws cannot be found to be unconstitutional?

  10. So Robert’s view is the Constitution exists not to protect the People from the overreach of Government , but to protect Government from accountability.

    1. The Congress is the voice of the American people, the New York Times is the brain of American people, and the Washington Post is the heart of the American people.

      1. Antifa is…

        1. Antifa is the fist of the American people, and an overreaching government is the rapey dick of the American people.

      2. HELL is where: The Congress is the voice of the American people, the New York Times is the brain of American people, and the Washington Post is the heart of the American people. and the police are German The chefs are British The mechanics are French The lovers are Swiss and it’s all organised by the Italians!!

        1. *shudder*

    2. You’re getting to muddled by involving the whole Constitution thing. Have you tried to read it? It’s very wordy. Snooze…..

      The genius of Roberts was to streamline it to just “to protect the Government from accountability.”

  11. I can’t seem to find the word “health” anywhere in the Constitution.

    1. SCOTUS has access to the secret clauses of the Constitution.

    2. Or “free markets.”

      1. Exactly if it’s not in there the Feds have no authority over it.

        1. That comment is a hypercube of dumb.

    3. It’s like Word Search or the Jumble in the newspaper. It’s there you just have to look hard.

      1. Or like those old Templar documents, where you need the formula to tell you which letters to read and which to ignore.

  12. Choir singing creates SUPERSPREADER events. The protests are a super superspreader, so it doesn’t matter. Just doesn’t matter.

  13. If a giant sinkhole forms between your house and your church, does government have an obligation to fix it so you can freely exercise your religion?

    Are we a bunch of drooling simpletons who think it’s more important to congregate with fellow idiots and sing songs to invisible friends than not spread a global pandemic?

    1. That’s the beauty of individual rights. You have the right to congregate with idiots even though it might be risky. And you have the right to stay inside if you think the risk is too high.

      1. The risk is also to other people dude.

        1. Really, “dude”? Define “risk”? If you’re under 50, your “risk” of death if you catch the WuFlu is under 0.3%, per “Reason”.

          The only statistically significant risk is to people who shouldn’t be leaving their home in the first place. (I know, math is hard, so just lay back and do some science-believing.)

          1. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about and you should feel embarrassed that you have let Trumpian politics turn you into a moron.

            I suppose old people don’t need to go to church even though it’s apparently vital for everyone else? Or what?

            And ftr survivors of this virus, as with many other viruses, are long-term, sometimes permanently disabling, effects. But pay no attention to that, or dead old people, Dr. Judge Janine is the expert.

            1. OK, so you want shut the entire country down permanently rather than ask vulnerable people to stay home? Is that the extent of your “thinking”?

              Oh, and reverting back to your imbecilic “if you’re not with me you’re with Trump” sophomoric bullshit doesn’t improve the quality of your argument.

              1. I want the country to open back up as soon as possible. Moron Trump followers (and yes, these BLM protesters) are making that difficult. I invoke Trump because he has singlehandedly made basic safety and civic responsibility both a partisan issue and a dick measuring travesty.

                1. NONE of what I’ve told you involves Trump. I don’t give a shit about Trump. Shut the fuck up about Trump. We’re all fucking sick of the fucking “Orange Man Bad” argument.

                  I do care — a lot — about frightened Karens such as yourself keeping this country locked down, IN ABSENCE OF ANY SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF NECESSITY, until they feel safe to venture out from under their beds. Which — come on, Tony, admit it — will probably be never.

                  1. Every country on earth locked down. It wasn’t a conspiracy. They were looking at science and reality. Once again the far right is way off in the distant land of weirdness while thinking they’re cleverer than literally everyone else on earth including experts. Must be a Monday.

                    1. Every country on earth locked down.

                      You’re being disingenuous.

                      When you say “every country on earth locked down,” you mean every population on Earth voluntarily started self-isolating, regardless of what their governments were doing or recommending.

                      You’re then conflating that with “governments taking total charge of economies and all social activities and forcing people to go to and stay in certain places under force of law.” Which far from every country on Earth did.

                      Libertarians fully support one of these things, and tend to be against the other.

                      Having Googled “problems with the NAP” to make sure you were properly armed to come here, can you guess which is which?

                    2. Reposting to avoid moderation:

                      It wasn’t a conspiracy. They were looking at science and reality.

                      Conspiracy? Who the fuck said anything about a conspiracy? Although… https://www.thelocal.dk/20200529/leaked-emails-show-how-denmarks-pm-steam-rollered-her-own-health-agency

                    3. Reposting to avoid moderation:

                      This is the so-called “science” they were looking at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/10/chilling-truth-decision-impose-lockdown-based-crude-mathematical/

                      You want to shred the Constitution based upon some hack’s shitty computer program. NOT science.

                      And you fall back to the typical Tony trope: “If you disagree with me I don’t need to listen, because you must be on the far right.”

                  2. Necessity is a strong word indeed. In 1760 the Abbé Desfontaines defended his frequent publication of libels by saying “Il faut que tout le monde vive” (everybody must live), to which Marc-Pierre de Voyer replied, “Je n’en vois pas la nécessité” (I don’t see the necessity of it).

        2. “The risk is also to other people dude.”

          If you’re afraid of the boogy-man, crawl in a hole and stay there. Forever; no one ever promised you there were no risks, weeny.

          1. Big words from someone who needs to jerk off to fun magazines to feel safe.

            1. Jerking off to “fun magazines” seems…cool. Got any recommendations?

              1. I’d say the fun is implied by the jerking off, but you never know with internet people.

                1. LOL. I forget you can be funny.

                  Go have a nice day.

                  1. LOL. I forget you can be funny.

                    Yeah – I have to admit, that was pretty good.

        3. You can stay at home, buy a bubble, etc and have lowered risk… Life is full of risks dummy. Stop pushing your ignorance onto others.

          1. Life is especially full of risk right now. This is not the first time the world had to deal with a highly infectious “risk.” And it’s not the first time people have let superstition override reason. It may be the first time the charlatan turning your brains into mush is so… orange.

            1. Life is especially full of risk? Really? Says who? Because “Reason” says the risk for the vast majority of the country is less than 0.3%, *if* they get infected. Which doesn’t seem to even be a thing for kids.

              Funny you’re dinging superstitions, because you’re the most superstitious commenter here. You never *think*, you never *learn*, you just let your damn superstitious fears run your life. And you’re desperate to let them run ours as well.

              1. More than a hundred thousand Americans are dead. Many more hundreds of thousands will be permanently disabled. We’ve basically failed already at containing this, and you’re advocating for actions that will only fill more hospital beds we don’t have. What happened to the sacred NAP? I can’t be in public AND my job is at risk because of your bullshit. Get off my fucking lawn.

                1. Many more hundreds of thousands will be permanently disabled.

                  City that bullshit or go back to Salon.

                  1. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/health/could-covid-19-cause-long-term-chronic-fatigue-and-illness-in-some-patients/2020/05/29/bcd5edb2-a02c-11ea-b5c9-570a91917d8d_story.html%3foutputType=amp

                    Let’s not forget that you’re still arguing that the human beings are particularly high risk for some reason aren’t a legitimate part of the discussion. Are you arguing in favor of letting them die Darwin style or are you just OK taking away their basic rights which you claim to care about for everyone else?

                    1. Uh huh. So your “citation” is a think piece suggesting the possibility the possibility that some people could wind up long-term complications? Will you admit you made up the “hundreds of thousands will be permanently disabled” part, just like you made up the “climate change will kill all multicellular life on the planet, and probably all single-cell life” statement? Will you admit that you don’t think, you don’t learn, you just blather out your fears?

                      Let’s not forget that you’re still arguing that the human beings are particularly high risk for some reason aren’t a legitimate part of the discussion.

                      Where exactly did I argue for that? Because IIRC I said they should stay home. Let me restate that: PEOPLE WHO ARE VULNERABLE SHOULD STAY HOME WHILE THE REST OF THE US GETS BACK TO WORK, gets and gets over the WuFlu, and develops herd immunity.

                    2. Everyone is vulnerable to one degree or another (it’s not as simple as you want it to be), and we already know how to deal with viral pandemics. Until we have a vaccine we either achieve herd immunity the Darwinian way, or we quarantine until we have a vaccine. We’ve already made terrible choices and I’m just trying to stop people like you from aggressing against me by making more terrible choices.

                    3. Bingo! You went said it. Exactly what I expected — you want the world to remain under house arrest unless a vaccine can be developed (not until, *unless* — have you had your common cold shot this year?). All for a virus with a 0.3% lethality rate for the vast majority of the population.

                      You’re not rational, and you’re not worth further discussion.

                      — p.s., I notice you conveniently ignored being accused of fabrication…

                    4. I’m the only one who’s provided a citation for anything here. You don’t know how bad this could be with no lockdowns and you don’t even know how permanent or temporary immunity is. Because even the experts don’t even know.

                      We’re both concerned with collective problems, me with a novel pandemic and you with freedom to congregate. Only I am the one listening to experts and agreeing with actions I don’t particularly like. You think I and a supermajority of Americans want to remained locked down unnecessarily?

                    5. even the experts don’t even know

                      Yet you argue that these same experts should be making decisions on everyone’s behalf.

                    6. We should do the best we can. We’re both advocating drastic collective action, and I’m taking the side of that debate that includes everyone with any seriousness.

                    7. We should do the best we can.

                      “The best we can” is listening to experts while not endowing their opinions with the force of law.

                      We’re both advocating drastic collective action

                      What does that mean, exactly? If you mean individuals should respond to the advice of experts in a manner that they see fit and weighing their own personal context and risks that the experts know nothing of, then sure – I’m for that.

                      If you mean “we need to pick some thing to do and have the government force everyone to do it, even if we think it might be the wrong thing, because “we” need to “do something” collectively” – no. That’s idiotic.

                      I’m taking the side of that debate that includes everyone with any seriousness

                      What does any of this sentence even mean?

                2. Many more hundreds of thousands will be permanently disabled.?

                  If you skeered, say you skeered

        4. No, it’s not.

          Fuck off, slaver.

    2. >>a global pandemic

      you’re like 8 weeks late mijo.

    3. Have they closed your bathhouse yet?

      1. Not the underground, unlicensed bathhouse where Tony happily provides his services for free to any man that comes through the front door.

    4. I would gleefully defend your right to meet with as many drooling simpleton statist bootlickers you could pack in a room with you to sing songs about how great RBG’s dick tastes if such a group of masochists were ever willing to occupy a room with you. This may be hard for you to understand, but whether or not anyone thinks what you’re getting together to discuss is stupid is not a legal grounds to prevent it.

      1. Aren’t you people the same ones bitching about how bad macroeconomic trends are because of this? What risks are we supposed to ignore and which are we supposed to pay attention to? Just the ones that affect Trump’s poll numbers, is that it?

        It’s the redneck fucktards who will be dying as a result of this stupidity, but I for one would like this to end sooner so I have a chance of making it through it employed. You?

        1. Comeon Tony, break out the “cousinfuckers”.

        2. so I have a chance of making it through it employed

          Learn to code.

        3. I for one would like this to end sooner so I have a chance of making it through it employed. You?

          Personally, I’ve been deemed “essential” by the Central Planners, so I’m good. You should write to your local officials with your concerns.

        4. You keep saying it’s going to be the dumb rednecks who will die, yet your numbers never seem to bear that out. I mostly seems to be Grandmas that Cuomo personally helped get a brand new apartment in nursing homes and all their new friends.

          I would like this to end – by letting people assess and take their own risks as we always have. Although I guess we could all end up wiped off the face of the earth like Sweden if we stop treating all 330 million of us like babies who don’t know what’s best for them.

          1. I miss the Swedes.

            1. Too bad that just couldn’t trust in the absolute power of the benevolent state to keep them safe from the air we breath. We can all learn from their insolence.

  14. “”It is not our job,” Roberts said in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, “to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.””

    In that case, of course, the issue was whether this sort of law could be passed by Congress, or whether it was up to the states. So the people would get to make “politicial choices” under the dissent’s rationale, just on the state not federal level. If Roberts doesn’t get this, he is a nationalist federal supremacist.

  15. Roberts is correct – the difference between “comparable secular gatherings…where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time,” such as concerts and movie theaters. The state “exempts or treats more leniently only similar activities,” he argued, “such as operating grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.” has long been codified in Building Codes, Fire Codes and Zoning Ordinances.

    1. It’s possible Roberts is right and, but if so it’s a freak blind-squirrel-finds-a-nut accident.

    2. He may be correct in that respect, but rebuking other judges for not agreeing is silly. After all, those secular institutions don’t have explicit constitutional amendments protecting their free exercise.

  16. “…”those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.””

    Yep, restrictions = freedom. Up = down, white = black and so forth.

    1. Yup, exactly the same way restrictions on Twitter are a celebration of Free Speech. Gawd bless Trump!

    2. We have always been at war with EastAsia.

  17. I was not happy with the decision, but I understood it. It is not an easy call.

  18. Someone please tell me where in the New Testament is requires the faithful to attend mass gatherings in close proximity without masks within a church building? Hell [sic], I’ll even accept a reference to it in the Book of Common Prayer!

    1. How about, it’s none of your fucking business how I choose to worship. And here’s a side of it’s not a violation of the NAP to unknowingly carry a goddamn natural pathogen.

      Some of you have really disappointed me throughout this whole pandemic fiasco.

      1. A few more active neurons and you’d realize why you just argued that the NAP is a facile and stupid thing.

        1. You should get together with Geraje Guzba – you guys have a lot in common.

        2. Sucks how something like the NAP would stop you from breaking out those jackboots you keep so well polished in your closet.

          1. All you need is the imagination any child can possess to appreciate that aggression and harm can come in the form of a virus (or pollution, or systemic racism) and not just a guy beating up another guy.

            1. Your point is…what? How exactly does that refute the NAP?

              1. It’s refuted by the application of a modicum of thought. (You can shoot a trespasser and that’s not aggression because the guy’s foot moved before your gun? Brilliant, airtight. I suggest googling problems with the NAP and dispensing with that simplistic nonsense.)

                What I’d like to talk about is why it’s bad to worry about a pandemic going unchecked but it’s not bad to worry about macroeconomic conditions. Both are collective concerns.

                1. I suggest googling problems with the NAP and dispensing with that simplistic nonsense

                  ROTFLMFAO

                  Tell me the one about how you can save millions of children’s lives by only taking a few pennies from some billionaires that they won’t even notice – I haven’t heard that one in recent days. TOTALLY NEGATES THE NAP!!1!

                  What I’d like to talk about is why it’s bad to worry about a pandemic going unchecked but it’s not bad to worry about macroeconomic conditions.

                  Worry all you like about whatever you want.

                  1. Yes, a tax that doesn’t meaningfully harm a billionaire is not meaningful aggression, while letting children starve to death en masse is aggression of the most serious kind, even if it’s achieved by neglect alone, at least by my thinking, which happens to be informed by logic and perspective.

                    1. And what’s most amusing is that you legitimately have no idea how many bases you stole to get to that conclusion. You think you’ve actually made a logical and valid point about something.

                    2. Yet somehow I didn’t conclude that a tax is worse than children starving to death. I don’t care how few bases you stole to get there, it’s still fucked up.

                    3. Yet somehow I didn’t conclude that a tax is worse than children starving to death.

                      No. You concluded, lacking any evidence whatsoever, that “taxing billionaires” = “saving starving children.” And, master of logic that you are, finding your conclusion supported, you decided to stop thinking about it.

                    4. Where are these children starving to death en mass again? I would think that would make the news.

                      Oh, you’re refering to the millions of poor victimized people that you champion that may die as an unintended consequence of your preferred policy where the government gave itself the imaginary power to lock people in their homes to prevent a virus based on “scientific” models that wouldn’t pass muster in a high school science fair?

                      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/05/refugees-and-migrants-being-forgotten-in-covid19-crisis-response/

        3. I’m not surprised a violent person such as yourself doesn’t understand how to not commit acts of aggression or why it might not be the idea solution to all the worlds problems.

    2. Someone please tell me where in the New Testament is requires the faithful to attend mass gatherings in close proximity without masks within a church building?

      There’s less than full-and-total agreement regarding what the New Testament does and doesn’t require.

      I get the point you’re making re: people making a bigger deal out of this than it really is as an anti-authoritarian gesture, but there are good and legitimate reasons why we don’t empower the government to go through the New Testament deciding which practices are authorized, which ones are optional, and which ones are required.

      1. Sure we do. While “free exercise” perhaps isn’t simply a sop, it is limited by practicality just like every other right. If a church wanted to sacrifice virgins, all but the most insane would favor government intervention. Arguably, since church congregations are some of the most efficient incubators for spreading this disease, practical, normal people would also favor restricting them to deal with the problem. Since you don’t have a right to use your religion as an excuse to make a pandemic worse! This thing isn’t transmitted voluntarily.

        1. If a church wanted to sacrifice virgins, all but the most insane would favor government intervention.

          Explain why without using the NAP.

          since church congregations are some of the most efficient incubators for spreading this disease

          And being the “I fucking love Science” guy, you have some empirical evidence for this you can point to, right? In contrast to, say, gas stations, right?

          Since you don’t have a right to use your religion as an excuse to make a pandemic worse!

          I don’t have a religion. I’ve been to church services exactly four times in my nearly five-decade life (four different Christian congregations), always politely attending with someone else who wanted me to go with them.

          What I believe in is individual rights. Even other people’s.

          1. I’m sure it goes without saying that it’s not the specific activity of church-going that is the problem, but people congregating in large numbers in confined spaces. I’m not asking for churches to be treated any different from any other business because apparently God doesn’t play favorites either.

            1. I’m not asking for churches to be treated any different from any other business

              So you think all businesses should be shut down?

              1. I think crowds should be limited. That churches demand special rights precisely because their activity is superstitious rather than rational by nature is merely a nice touch of farce.

                1. I think crowds should be limited.

                  You didn’t show your face here caring about anything until churches came up. I’m only aware of organizations being asked to be given the same permissions other facilities are being given.

                  In my area, the parks are full people left and right – should they be arrested, too?

                  What about the people at the protests? Why aren’t you complaining about them?

                  That churches demand special rights precisely because their activity is superstitious rather than rational by nature is merely a nice touch of farce.

                  Do you believe you have a right to be an atheist? Or do you only think beliefs that you don’t agree with count as superstitions?

                  1. Nobody should be arrested. Jails are hardly the best environment either.

                    I am concerned about the protests with respect to covid. My attitude is “maybe not right now, guys.” Stop playing find the obvious hypocrite. I am not obvious.

                    I think people in the US have the right to be atheists or superstitious as their hearts desire. I also happen to think they should have that right. But people‘a rights end where my health and safety begin, as I’m sure everyone here agrees.

                    1. Nobody should be arrested.

                      So, what happens when people go to church in violation of your orders?

                      And why are churches such a special target of your ire if you’re just as “concerned” about the protesters you only just now mentioned when called out on your obvious hypocrisy?

                    2. Square, you missed a couple of letters – it’s obLIvious hypocrisy.

                2. So are you wearing your ball gag over or under your mask at the pride parade?

                  1. This is the story of my life. I’m fitter than I have been in ages, and the only ones who get to see it are family and cats. If I could work out a decent tan I would have even considered going in a tank top this year.

            2. And weirdly you forget to respond to this part:

              If a church wanted to sacrifice virgins, all but the most insane would favor government intervention.

              Explain why without using the NAP.”

              1. Civilized societies don’t permit the sacrifice of virgins as part of religious ceremonies. I don’t need a childish rote dogma, I just need someone to argue the other side and try to convince me that a better society is one in which virgin sacrifice is permitted. Any takers?

                1. You were asked to explain why you think that is a proper policy. All you are asserting is the principle of “just because'”.

                  1. That’s what we all do. Nature doesn’t care wherever we have a civilized society or whether it permits bare boobs in public or a million other things. That’s why, if we’re lucky, we develop peaceful consensus via democracy.

                    1. That’s why, if we’re lucky, we develop peaceful consensus via democracy.

                      Why does it have to be peaceful?

                      Please explain without reference to the NAP.

                    2. It’s usually not peaceful or a consensus. It’s just better when it is because it means I die less.

                2. Civilized societies don’t permit the sacrifice of virgins as part of religious ceremonies.

                  What a delightfully circular argument! Does that mean Cortes was right to subjugate the uncivilized Aztecs?

                  I just need someone to argue the other side and try to convince me that a better society is one in which virgin sacrifice is permitted. Any takers?

                  So . . . you need someone to take a bizarre and counter-intuitive position that almost no one in the modern world holds and that no one here is advocating because . . . it’s easier than trying to justify prohibiting virgin sacrifice without referencing the NAP?

                  Color me shocked.

                  1. If no one in the modern world takes that position then why are you bitching at me for holding it?

                    1. Reminder:

                      If a church wanted to sacrifice virgins, all but the most insane would favor government intervention.

                      Explain why without using the NAP.”

                      This is the question you’re avoiding answering.

                    2. Because, as you put so well, there is a consensus about it. Now you tell me why I should submit all of my political beliefs to a fatally flawed dogma someone pulled from his butt?

                    3. Because, as you put so well, there is a consensus about it.

                      To remind you, you said:

                      “If a church wanted to sacrifice virgins, all but the most insane would favor government intervention.”

                      So, if there were consensus about virgin sacrifice being a good and proper thing, then it would be okay? And you wouldn’t favor government intervention?

                      Or are you insane?

                    4. It might be OK with me if I were an Inca. Who can say? Thankfully I’m not. May we all look forward to a future in which morality has become even more sophisticated.

        2. Man I hope you don’t leave the house anytime you have a sniffle or cough. I’d hate for you to be a profoundly hypocritical moral scold.

        3. If the legislature voted that young women must service them once per election cycle, all but the most insane would say there is a limit to what authority the government has.

    3. I’m not sure what you’re even talking about.

      The church in the lawsuit was only making the case that they could follow the same safety guidelines as establishments that are allowed open — that they can sit people 6 feet away from each other, sanitize the church, require masks, and so on. So nobody was arguing that the faithful should be “in close proximity without masks.” Just that they should be allowed to follow social distancing guidelines and stay open as long as they follow them.

      By the way, physical meetings are an essential part of religious practice. I’m not going to speak to the New Testament, because I’m not Christian, but I know they’re an essential part of Judaism. You can’t say certain prayers or bring out the Torah to read it out loud unless you have a certain number of people in physical attendance, and its considered a mitzvah (positive commandment) to do these things. Religion, according to Judaism, is a social thing, not a matter of private faith.

      Of course, Judaism also puts a person’s health and life above other considerations and is allowed to suspend certain requirements under those reasons, and negative commandments are considered more serious than positive commandments. So, yes, under circumstances where the health of people are at stake, the social part of Judaism can be suspended.

      But its still an essential part of religious practice.

      None of that gets to the political and legal debate, of course. Of course, its obvious that religious establishments have to abide by quarantine rules. However, from a certain legal perspective, the government would have to prove certain requirements. Justice Roberts is focusing on whether they’re treated the same as other similar establishments, which in his opinion include theaters and sports arenas. However, the government is allowed to shut down a commercial establishment entirety under their right to regulate commerce, while is prohibited from shutting down a religious establishment. So one legal view is that restrictions on churches require a stricter standard of legal scrutiny, and the question is not whether a church can come under quarantine to protect public health (it can), but whether the government has made a case that its using the “necessary least restrictive means.” And this church was arguing the government was not.

      Getting beyond the question about religion, I also think there’s a broader case to be made about equal protection with some of the lockdown restrictions. So for instance, is it really fair legal treatment to owners of smoke shops that the government is allowing liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries to stay open, but shutting down smoke shops? Of course, the government under normal circumstances can and does adopt arbitrary standards towards different businesses. It can choose to tax tea, but not not tax coffee. But in this case, the government is being deeply injurious, to the point that many of these businesses are going bankrupt. And all without real legislation, just executive orders.

      1. Of course, its obvious that religious establishments have to abide by quarantine rules.

        How is that obvious? God will provide, (allahu akba). If they want to gather and pray to their gods, their gods will answer to the efficacy of that behavior. They will live and die… like Jim Jones and his guyana morons church does not exist anymore. So will those churches who don’t “have the blessings of their gawds”.

        geezus, let people be. If they play stoopid games, they win stoopid prizes.

  19. “such as operating grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.”

    You guys need to understand that Roberts hasn’t had to go into a grocery store, bank, or laundrymat since 1985. He has people to do that stuff for him and so he just doesn’t know . . .

    1. I was at a grocers last week, fruits and vegetables mostly. Very narrow aisles almost a maze to get through. Packed wall to wall with people.

  20. I honestly don’t think Roberts has shown much consistency on the issue of judicial activism. He’s hypocritical on this up the wazoo.

    In Synder v. Phelps, the case which dealt with the Westboro Baptist Church picketing on the road to a funeral, Justice Alito issued the sole dissent, where he made the point that they had plenty of other venues to express their speech, and thus restricting the one particular venue didn’t restrict their First Amendment rights. Roberts wrote the court opinion that ruled in favor of WBC, based on the idea that the Constitution required an expansive treatment of free speech that didn’t close off possible venues of expression even when others were available.

    In Citizens United v. FEC, Roberts was unswayed by arguments made to the court that regulating money spent by corporations and unions were an acceptable extension of the commerce clause because the shareholders or union members paying dues might not want their money spent on political purposes. He argued that that shareholders and union members have an ability to affect how those respective organizations spend their money by going to board meetings. This, despite the fact that the Supreme Court — and Roberts — has long rejected Lochner era rulings which restricted employer regulations on the grounds of an individuals’ “freedom of contract.” So why is it acceptable to regulate employers on behalf of employees and not corporate/unions boards on behalf of shareholders/union members? Who knows.

  21. Roberts enjoys the occasional wankings he gets from the lefty fake news media. He’s an attention whore.

    1. He’s a man that has worked for the state since he left his Ivy League school that taught him to be a great man and use the power of the state to do great things. He’s a statist.

  22. Sp Roberts basically says the government can do whatever they want…

  23. I’ll go further and say judicial review at the federal level is not constitutional. States should be the final decider and enforcer if a State does not abide by the Constitution and Bill of Rights it signed up for. I would suggest a majority of States can nullify a State which has passed a law impeding a natural right. The SC has really no place in deciding what law is constitutional…only the States can.

  24. Roberts was a blunder. This guy is a hack.

  25. When Roberts wrote,
    “It is not our job,” Roberts said in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, “to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
    What was he thinking? Is he High? That is precisely their job, lock stock and barrel. Who the heII else is going to pass legislation that must pass constitutional muster.
    That anyone in his position could be that desperate for justification for a bad decision is frightening. One would hope he would be possessed of the creativity of thinking he displayed to make the leap necessary to clear the hurdle of commonsense when he made these flawed decisions in the first place.

    1. Agree 100% (although I agree with the jist of this opinion here). Especially when he tells voters to go through their own states’ legal and legislative systems to rectify gerrymandering; how can he can he also say that “you get what you wanted” when people are telling him, “this isn’t what we wanted, this is why we’re asking you to correct it.”

  26. A recent Wisconsin Supreme court case also saw a conservative justice side with the liberal justices. Like Roberts, Wisconsin Justice Hagedorn forgot that the idea of legislating from the bench is only a phrase and that it is OK if you are legislating conservative values.

  27. Roberts, wrong again.

  28. Comparing attending a religious worship service to attending a secular musical performance is simply an invalid comparison, because the free practice of religion is a specifically protected right, where there is no “right to be entertained” enshrined in the Constitution. The practice in “free practice” is up to the religious organization to define, not the courts.

  29. Roberts: I lost my copy of the Bill of Rights. You all are on your own.

  30. How can Roberts then justify his opinion on gerrymandering, where he states that the solution is in state courts? If gerrymandering is real, which he pretty much confesses there, then how can he justify saying that governance is the result of the electorate’s choices?

    For the record, I agree with him in the case highlighted here, but these hand-picked conservative justices all have been extremely inconsistent in their “reasoning” throughout their times on the bench.

  31. Roberts is nothing but a rank establishmentarian. A deep (or administrative, if you prefer) state defender an advocate. He knows no left, right or center, just maintaining the status quo and existing power centers. Same goes for the rest of them on the “right” side of SCOTUS, except perhaps Mr. Thomas. We know where the progs stand, and they may even really believe it.

    SCOTUS is no friend of liberty, and no defender of Constitutional order. Don’t ever forget that. Like the black man said about the police “They not yo frenz.”.

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