The Supreme Court term has been a good one for those who believe in the original meaning of the Constitution and the rule of law.
For all the jurisprudential victories of recent years, thinly veiled liberal activism would rear its head in major cases on a recurring basis—as recently as last year. But that did not happen this term, which was the first for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Her confirmation last fall gave the Court a majority of justices who consider themselves originalists of one stripe or another. The others are Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.
That bloc of five made the difference in the first major constitutional issue the Court decided. It granted Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues challenging New York’s COVID restrictions on worship under the Free Exercise Clause injunctive relief in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo by a 5-4 vote.
Another free exercise victory came in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, where a unanimous Court struck down Philadelphia’s refusal to contract with Catholic Social Services based upon its longstanding beliefs that prevented certification of same-sex couples as foster parents.