The US Supreme Court late on Wednesday backed Christian and Jewish houses of worship challenging New York state's latest restrictions in novel coronavirus hot spots.
The court on a 5-4 vote granted requests made by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations.
The order marked one of the first consequential actions on the court of President Donald Trump's new appointee, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast a deciding vote in favour of the religious groups. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the court's three liberals. An October 6 decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shut down non-essential businesses in targeted areas where infections have spiked, including some Brooklyn neighbourhoods. It limited gatherings at religious institutions to 10 people in some areas and 25 in others.
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