Agudath Israel of America on Thursday filed a lawsuit in a federal court to prevent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) from limiting how many people can gather in places of worship in certain parts of the state, The Yeshiva World reports.
The organization, which was founded in 1922 to serve the American Orthodox Jewish community, took the action after months of what it claims is Gov. Cuomo’s targeting and ostracizing of Jewish communities during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Recent outbreaks in New York City have been mostly confined to certain areas of Queens and Brooklyn, which have been called “red zones.” Many Orthodox Jewish communities live in these red zones. For this reason, Gov. Cuomo earlier this week stated that he might ban large gatherings at houses of worship, which has been met by large Jewish protests and condemnation from Jewish political and religious leaders.
Gov. Cuomo’s office responded to SaraACarter.com and told this reporter: “We’ve been sued virtually every day for every action taken. We’re concentrating on reducing the virus in these hot spots and saving lives, period.”
The governor’s executive order comes consequentially as the Jewish community commemorates their high, holy days. In light of that, the lawsuit claims that the order is “depriving them of their religious worship and holiday observance.”
Related: ‘Dangerous and divisive’ NY Officials slam Gov. Cuomo for singling out Jews in new COVID-19 orders
Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that the order is unconstitutional for discriminating against individuals practicing their religion while secular events comparable in size and social distancing are allowed. Additionally, they argue that, while the order targets all religions, because the restrictions apply to these “red zones” where many Jewish people live, it disproportionately targets them and their faith.
According to the Yeshiva World article, the fact that Orthodox Jews cannot drive on certain holidays essentially prevents them from attending services at synagogues outside the red zones.
Agudath Israel of America was not available for immediate comment. This story will be updated if and when a comment is received.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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