Thursday, November 26, 2020


Ruth Bader Ginsberg died and we're screwed:
The Supreme Court signaled a major shift in its approach to coronavirus-related restrictions late Wednesday, voting 5-4 to bar New York state from reimposing limits on religious gatherings.

The emergency rulings, issued just before midnight, were the first significant indication of a rightward shift in the court since President Donald Trump’s newest appointee — Justice Amy Coney Barrett — last month filled the seat occupied by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.
Please note: The "emergency" here isn't the pandemic. The "emergency" is that these churches can't have as many people as they please at in-person services, even though there are alternatives to in-person services.

And, in fact, that "emergency" no longer exists:
Under New York’s system, religious services held by congregations in “red” zones are limited to 10 people, while those in “orange” zones can host up to 25 people at a time. On Monday, Cuomo moved the areas occupied by the religious congregations involved in the litigation into the “yellow” zone, lifting the most onerous restrictions....
Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissent is correct:
Sotomayor vigorously disputed the contention that the religious groups were being unfairly discriminated against, arguing that comparisons between religious services and liquor or big-box stores were overly facile because the virus-related health risks posed by what people do in those places are starkly different.

“Unlike religious services … bike repair shops and liquor stores generally do not feature customers gathering inside to sing and speak together for an hour or more at a time,” she wrote. “Justices of this Court play a deadly game in second guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily.”
But it doesn't matter. Barrett cast the deciding vote in favor of spreading COVID, even though she's the first COVID survivor on the Court.

So what are the limits now? This ruling happened after two similar cases that went the opposite way (while Ginsburg was still on the Court). I keep being told that the case before the Court that's intended to overturn Obamacare is deeply flawed. Earlier this month, Court-watchers told us that even John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh seemed inclined to save the law.

I'm also told that all of President Trump's challenges to the election results are laughable (and the most recent error-filled filings by Signey Powell in Georgia and Michigan are possibly the most embarrassing yet).

This Court, which probably just killed thousands of people, has its limits, right?

I keep thinking of the line we used to hear regularly just after 9/11: People trying to prevent terrorism have to succeed every time, but terrorists have to succeed only once.

That's what I think when I see the running totals of how many court cases Trump's election team has lost and how few it's won: It doesn't matter how many losses the Trumpers have if they get a case to the Supreme Court and win.

But that won't happen. Right? And Obamacase is safe for now. Right? I'm being melodramatic, right?

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