This article is by a non-clinician.
On November 25, Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr. and Amy Coney Barrett delivered a landmark First Amendment rebuke to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for unconstitutionally restricting religious services at churches and synagogues in various neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.
Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch wisely emphasized that "even in a pandemic the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten."
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in an inflammatory dissent joined by Justice Elena Kagan, accused her five colleagues in the majority of "play[ing] 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, spread most easily."
Justice Sotomayor was recycling the appalling concurring opinion, written six months earlier by Chief Justice Roberts, in "South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Gov. Gavin Newsom," when the same three justices, Stephen Breyer and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, refused to overturn similar draconian restrictions imposed on California's houses of worship.
Chief Justice Roberts astonishingly declared:
"When those [elected] officials 'undertake to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties,'…they should not be subject to second-guessing by an 'unelected federal judiciary,' which lacks the background, competence and expertise to assess public health."
First, a group of Democratic mayors and governors, who are responsible for a grossly disproportionate percentage of COVID deaths this year, have repeatedly demonstrated their total lack of public health "competence and expertise" in battling this epidemic.
Indeed, seven states with Democratic governors are collectively responsible for 102,959 of the nation's 253,242 COVID deaths, or a highly disproportional 41% (as of Dec. 4):
||Number of Deaths
||John Bel Edwards
However, these Democratic-run dystopias have a collective population of only 98 million, or 30% of the nation's 330 million.
Furthermore, the commissioners of public health appointed by many Democratic governors and big-city mayors are not "experts," with decades of experience in successfully containing deadly infectious diseases. Tragically, most were selected for affirmative-action, diversity or other dangerously irrelevant criteria.
New York City is the epidemic's epicenter, with 21,156 of the nation's 253,242 COVID fatalities, or 8%.
Not surprisingly, the New York City health commissioner until her resignation in early August, when there were roughly 19,000 COVID deaths in the nation's most populous and densely-packed city, was Dr. Oxiris Barbot, a pediatrician with no expertise in infectious diseases.
When New York's grossly incompetent Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Dr. Barbot in Dec. 2018, he underlined that she would be the city's first Puerto-Rican American woman health commissioner.
Similarly, New York State's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is responsible 33,830 coronavirus deaths, or 13% of the nation's grim toll of 253,242.
New York state's director of public health throughout the epidemic is Dr. Howard Zucker, who is also not a nationally renowned infectious-disease specialist, but a pediatrician and anesthesiologist. However, Chief Justice Roberts might be impressed that Dr. Zucker also has a law degree from Fordham University.
Moreover, in late March, when the epidemic was raging in New York City and the surrounding suburban counties of Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk, Gov. Cuomo and Commissioner Zucker mind-bogglingly ordered nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to accept COVID-positive patients, which led to thousands of unnecessary deaths.
Three thousand miles across the country from NYC is Los Angeles County, and its 10 million residents. The nation's most populous county also has more COVID deaths, 7,886, than any other county. Brooklyn (Kings County), with 7,526 fatalities and Queens, with 7,373, rank second and third.
The LA County Commissioner of Health, Barbara Ferrer, is a long-time leftist activist, who, incredibly, is not even a medical doctor. She has a doctorate in social welfare and a master's degree in public health, which could be in hospital management or community health, and not in the epidemiology of microbial diseases.
Similarly, New Jersey, which ranks third nationwide in COVID deaths, has a Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, a retired Goldman Sachs executive, and his commissioner of health, Judith Persichilli, is a nurse with extensive experience as a hospital administrator. The commissioner is also not an expert in fighting fatal infectious diseases.
Chief Justice Roberts, in rejecting in May injunctive relief sought by the church in suburban San Diego against California Gov. Newsom's arbitrary restrictions on religious services, emphasized judges must defer to the judgments of "elected officials" during a deadly epidemic.
But in New York, California and other states with Democratic governors and thousands of COVID deaths, state legislators have abrogated their critical responsibility for legislating about life-and-death issues of public health, to increasingly dictatorial governors.
Finally, Chief Justice Roberts's abominable generalization, that 870 federal judges lack the scientific knowledge to overrule life-altering policies promulgated by a group of highly-partisan governors and their politically-appointed health advisers during a deadly epidemic, demands a follow-up analysis.
Mark Schulte is a retired New York City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Report's — More Here.
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