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There are so many elected officials, political leaders, and public health officials ignoring the rules they demand you and I follow that two different websites are accumulating a list of the incidents.

Covid Hypocrisy: Policymakers Breaking Their Own Rules

Visualization from Heritage.org tracks incidents in the United States. A map shows location and provides one sentence summary.

Detail of incidence are listed, which includes date, name of the public official betraying the public trust, location, and description of incident. The description includes a link to news article explaining the hypocrisy.

On 12/24/20 I count 42 incidents. As you would expect, California is in the lead with eight incidents if you include the legislator’s junket to Hawaii for a vacation funded by lobbyists.

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First Amendment of the US Constitution text. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Don’t know what you have read of the Supreme Court decision that has restored the free expression clause to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This ruling is significant because SCOTUS has issued three additional temporary injunctions citing this specific ruling when ordering the District Court to reconsider their incorrect decision.

Several sentences in the ruling have been widely quoted.

After reading the full decision, I realize it is stronger than I realized. Harsh even.

I have brought plenty of sarcasm and ridicule to bear discussing the attacks on the First Amendment willfully carried out by many politicians and public health officials. My point-and-laugh-out-loud efforts pale in comparison to comments from the ruling and several concurring arguments.

The Supreme Court injunction is titled ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK v. ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.

Link to the text can be found at No. 20A87 with the actual text found here.

I will quote a large number of the specific comments in the ruling with a few of my observations

Comments from unsigned opinion:

Some background:

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At least one person on the constantly growing list of flaming hypocrites in public leadership has a sense of shame. Or, at least enough shame to realize she should retire. Eventually. Someday.

After two days of publicity about her non-Thanksgiving non-celebration trip to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with family she doesn’t live with, Dr. Deborah Birx made the announcement.

12/22/20 – National Review – Dr. Birx Announces She Will Retire after Holiday Travel Controversy and CBS news – Birx says she plans to retire, citing strain on family.

After two full days of controversy, Dr. Birx announced she will retire shortly after assisting in the transition to a new administration. Presumably, that means sometime in late January or early February. Or maybe March. Or maybe June.

Recall from yesterday the day after Thanksgiving she traveled from her home in D.C. to one of her vacation homes in Delaware for a 50 hour stay with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in a different home she owns in Potomac.

When challenged about whether traveling to another state with people from a different household during the Thanksgiving weekend was appropriate given her very public advice not to travel at all over the weekend and not to be with anyone from a different household, she provided a splendiferous rationalization.

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Rationalization can blind our views and limit perspective. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It is taking more and more time to keep up with the political and public health leaders who don’t bother to comply with the recommendations they give us.

This time it is Dr. Deborah Birx who blew off the travel restrictions and gathering size limits at Thanksgiving. Oh, pardon me. It doesn’t count as a Thanksgiving trip since she traveled to her destination the day after Thanksgiving.

Saddest part of this example of hypocrisy is it took place after a large volume of other supposed leaders drew massive criticism for ignoring the rules. It isn’t as if every political and public health leader hasn’t been given notice their behavior is being observed.

Scariest part is her rationalization that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the trip.

Last point in this discussion is the wish that every American had the same freedom she has exercised. Specifically, the freedom to make our own decisions on what is best for our family given our circumstances.

12/20/20 – Associated Press – Birx travels, family visits highlight pandemic safety perils – The day after Thanksgiving, Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator for the official White House coronavirus response team, traveled from her D.C. home to her vacation home in Delaware. Joining her in Delaware were her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. While in Delaware they ate meals together for two days.

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List continues to lengthen of government officials who are exempt from what they demand you do.

Today’s examples are Shemia Fagan, newly elected Secretary of State from Oregon, and Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island.

12/14/20 – PJ Media – ANOTHER Democrat Covid Hypocrite: Oregon’s Newly Elected Secretary of State Violates Governor’s Order on Gatherings for Kid’s Birthday Party – This time it is the incoming Secretary of State in Oregon who is above the law.

Shemia Fagan was photographed hosting a birthday party for one of her children at her home. There were seven adults from six different households visible. They are outside and inside the house. Of course only a portion of the people visible in the photographs were wearing masks.

It is unknown and unrevealed how many other people from how many households were present.

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The US Supreme Court has issued injunctions in three different cases in three different circuits overturning lower court rulings which restrict religious freedom. (Update:  make that four.)

On top of that, the County of Los Angeles has announced it will revise its public health orders to allow worship services to be conducted indoors.

Fantastic, wonderful news for your early Sunday morning reading.

(Update: Minor corrections for grammar and typos made without identify such changes. Substantive updates identified as such.)

Update: I just read the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn ruling. Wow. The sum total of all sarcasm and ridicule I have previously brought to the table regarding religious freedom pales in comparison to the scathing comments by Justices in that ruling. When I have time, I’ll recap some of the comments. Quick summary:  it is past time for governors to stop intentionally ignoring and flagrantly shredding the U.S. Constitution. Oh yeah, the Governor of New York is working hard to fight the case and violate the Constitution.

US Supreme Court – Harvest Rock Church, et al. v. Newsom, Gov. of CA

In a 10 line, unsigned order SCOTUS vacated the ruling by the District Court for the Center District of California which ruled against Harvest Rock Church in their lawsuit to allow indoor worship.

Ruling can be found here.

The ruling was dated Thursday 12/3/20, which is 2 ½ weeks ago.

The court ordered the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to order the District Court to reconsider their ruling in light of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

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It is possible the above activity might soon be protected by the First Amendment. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
This three part series looks at rulings which show courts are beginning to recognize that imposing severe restrictions on religious worship constitutes a violation of the free expression clause of First Amendment. Just in case you think I’m being too harsh in my sarcastic, ridiculing comments regarding the attacks on the First Amendment, check out some of these court rulings. When it comes to criticizing unconstitutional government rules, I’m a lightweight compared to any of these judges. These posts focus on two lower courts that re-read the U.S. Constitution after the U.S. Supreme Court started the refreshing trend of actually reading said Constitution before issuing a ruling. The cases:  

Ninth Circuit –Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak.

12/15/20 – Hill Faith – First Amendment: Court Strikes Down Nevada’s Covid Church Attendance Limits – Nevada issued rules restricting the number of people who can gather for worship to the lesser of 50% of fire code capacity or 50 people. Large number of other activities have a restriction level of 50% of fire code capacity. The 50% only limit without a numerical cap applies to “casinos, bowling alleys, retail businesses, restaurants, arcades, and other similar secular entities.” (more…)

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This three part series looks at rulings which show courts are beginning to recognize to impose severe restrictions on religious worship constitutes a violation of the free expression clause of First Amendment.

Just in case you think I’m being too harsh in my sarcastic, ridiculing comments regarding the attacks on the First Amendment, you really need to check out some of these court rulings.

In terms of criticism of constitution-ignoring governments I am a mere simplistic lightweight simpleton with lightweight  rhetoric compared to any one of the following judges. I wouldn’t think of calling the alleged thought process of the California government specious.

These posts focus on two lower courts that re-read the U.S. Constitution after the U.S. Supreme Court started the refreshing trend of actually reading said Constitution. The cases:

  • Supreme Court – Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn (previous post)
  • California Superior Court – Bakersfield Division – Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom (current discussion)
  • Ninth Circuit –Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak.

California Superior Court – Bakersfield Division – Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom

12/11/20 – Hill Faith – California Court Delivers Stinging Rebuke To Newsom’s Anti-Church Covid-19 Regulations California Superior Court Judge Gregory Pulskamp granted a preliminary injunction allowing several churches to continue worship, after finding the state requirements violate the California Constitution.

The ruling is titled Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom and can be found here.

The core issue is concealed in this technical sentence on page 1:

“Although Defendants collectively advocate for the use of a “rational basis” standard, it is clear that when restrictions appear to treat religious activity less favorably than comparable secular activities, the restrictions are subject to “strict scrutiny.””

If you understood that sentence, you can already guess what the ruling will be.

To my little pea-brain, the case is almost resolved when this sentence is provided on page 2:

“In this case, the restrictions are not “neutral” and of “general applicability” because they assign entities into disparate classifications which results in religious activities being treated less favorably than comparable secular activities.”

Following comment is so scathing it ought to be wrapped in fire-resistant fabric:

“Entities permitted to engage in indoor activities – also known as “essential businesses” or “critical infrastructure” – include big-box retail stores, grocery stores, home improvement stores, hotels, airports, train stations, bus stations, movie production houses, warehouses, factories, schools, and a lengthy list of additional businesses. It is important to note that almost all of the entities that are allowed to host indoor operations do not engage in activity that is constitutionally protected, whereas houses of worship do.

Nowhere does the Constitution mention home improvement stores or movie production companies, yet they are allowed to continue indoor operations while constitutionally protected worship services are not. Ouch.

After summarizing the government’s response to the strict scrutiny issue, the ruling continues:

“To the contrary, based on the evidence presented (or lack thereof) and common knowledge, it appears that shoppers at a Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. may – and frequently do – congregate in numbers, proximity, and duration that is very comparable to worshippers in houses of worship. Defendants have not convincingly established that the health risks associated with houses of worship would be any different than “essential businesses” or “critical infrastructure,” assuming the same requirements of social distancing and the wearing of masks were applied across the board

So, no difference in risk between a trip to Costco and sitting through a worship service. Double ouch.

Ruling then cites comment by Justice Kavanaugh in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn:

“Assuming all of the same precautions are taken, why can someone safely walk down a grocery store aisle but not a pew? And why can someone safely interact with a brave deliverywoman but not with a stoic minister?”

Why indeed.

The ruling continues to identify that the New York restrictions of 10 people in “red zones” and 25 in “orange zones” were categorized by the Supreme Court as “very severe restrictions.” What then to make of the California restrictions which set the restriction at zero for indoor worship? Seems to me that zero would be an order of magnitude beyond “very severe restrictions.”

Ruling then explains the government has not demonstrated that are indoor worship word “negatively impact public health.”

The court finds as specious the government’s argument that watching TV is the same as worshiping in person. Don’t believe a court could be that harsh? Check it out for yourself:

“Similarly, Defendants’ protestations that religious services may still be offered through means of modern telecommunication, such as TV or web-based platforms, seem specious because, as noted in Roman Catholic Diocese, “such remote viewing is not the same as personal attendance.” “

I just had to go look up the definition of specious:

specious

adjective

superficially plausible, but actually wrong.

misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.

Let me rephrase the comment:

Government protestations that religious services may still be offered through means of modern telecommunication are superficially plausible but actually wrong and in fact are misleading in appearance.

Specious arguments. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

The court ruled the state requirements are a clear violation of the California Constitution:

“The free exercise of religion clause in the California Constitution prohibits Defendants from treating religious activities worse than comparable secular activities. California’s current Covid-related restrictions do exactly that.”

The court granted a temporary injunction against the state of California until a full trial is held on the merits of the case.

Care to make any wild guess what the court will be thinking at trial, guided by the recent SCOTUS ruling?

Next post: ruling from the Ninth Circuit applying the Supreme Court ruling to rules in Nevada. Hint: the rules violate the U.S. Constitution.