Buoyed by a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in a separate case in New York, Maryland Del. Dan Cox and his fellow plaintiffs are seeking an appeal in their lawsuit against Gov. Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) and the plaintiffs, including several pastors, have alleged Hogan’s COVID-19 restrictions are unconstitutional. The lawsuit argued Hogan (R) violated the individual and constitutional liberties of Marylanders.

Judge Catherine Blake of the U.S. District Court of Maryland dismissed the lawsuit Nov. 18, stating the amended complaint did not outweigh the governor’s duty to protect public health.

“The plaintiffs allege in their amended complaint and in their opposition that less restrictive measures are available to Governor Hogan and that it is unequal treatment to designate some businesses — but not theirs — as essential,” she wrote. “But alleging that an order goes too far in protecting public health is not the same as pleading that an order has no real and substantial relation to protecting public health.”

However, a new decision by the U.S. Supreme Court gives Cox hope that his appeal will be successful.

In a 5-4 vote the night before Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court justices blocked certain COVID-19 attendance restrictions on houses of worship in New York, according to The Associated Press. The restrictions at hand “strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty” and “single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment,” the Supreme Court’s majority opinion read.

While Cox said that the plaintiffs in his case planned to appeal anyway after Blake dismissed their lawsuit, he was encouraged by the outcome of the New York case, saying that Hogan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used similar arguments to justify imposing COVID-19 restrictions.

“The tide has turned both in exposing false narratives surrounding COVID-19 and even more importantly the misuse of the Constitution,” Cox wrote in an email Friday. “The Constitution stands regardless of emergency — indeed that is why we have a Constitution, to ensure our liberties remain at all times.”

The plaintiffs in Cox’s lawsuit have appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from the denial of relief and dismissal of the case, according to a statement from Cox’s office.

“The relief requested by the plaintiffs is to uphold their constitutional and natural liberty to represent our constituents without threat of arrest, to be able to work in and operate small business without reduction of capacity or closures while the big box stores make billions and are open and packed, and to worship God without state interference,” Cox wrote. “We will win this case, and Maryland will once again be free from an overreach and injustice like we are not supposed to see happen in our free land.”

The governor’s office was not immediately available for a comment Friday night.

Steve Bohnel contributed to this story.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller

(81) comments

Greg F

Del the delirious. 🤪

yogib

Greg is so right. This member of our elected government is really trying to destroy, rather than build. It is time for the voters in his district recognize how irrelvant this guy is to Frederick County and to the Republican Party.

Jim Hartley

The local Republican party is as loony as the national one. But they are loony because their base loves it. And their base is enormous.

Piedmontgardener

The base of the Trumpist Party isn't enormous in Maryland, but it makes an incredible amount of noise and trouble. Cox is a perfect party guy, stir up trouble in his community trying to do the right things to fight a pandemic. Heck of accomplishment, Dan.

olefool

There are many laws that criminalize the spread of HIV AIDS virus by people who, without caution, wantonly exposed and spread it around the population. Those laws were enacted specifically for that flu epidemic, so the question begs, why not now with the Covid 19 flu??

Is it time to take drastic action against super spreaders?

HappySeller2014

Cox reminds me of the pimples that came and went throughouy my teenage years. Stubborn little boogers. But eventually, my beautiful complexion showed through. OxyTen was my friend back then. But, the friend Cox keeps grandstanding for was beaten back on November 3rd.

I think Trump's attorneys are now 1-45 in all cases presented to the courts. Thay sure is a winning team we all want to join, eh?

Burgessdr

Herpes plus pimples equals Cox. Pathetic

HappySeller2014

The gift that keeps on giving. Some might say it is Cox. Others might say it is herpes. Oh pitiful me, who am I to judge among these positions?

Bill Murray from Groundhog Day is gonna file an amicus curae brief to the court. You watch. His movie is being trademark infringed.

Comment deleted.
threecents

I think Del Cox is more of a jerk than an idiot.

public-redux

“With some exceptions, governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives. The exceptions have been some governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences. But most governments acted responsibly, imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak.”

“It is all too easy for some to take an idea — in this case, for example, personal freedom — and turn it into an ideology, creating a prism through which they judge everything.”

A prominent religious leader, just recently.

DickD

It would be too easy, but it doesn't mean it would be done and you are creating a life and death situation by allowing large gatherings.

MD1756

I declare myself to be the "Church of Me." Since I am now the "Church of Me," I would like Cox to file a lawsuit on my behalf to force the state and county to stop taxing my income and property. After all, there is the separation of church and state so how about it Dan? And, if you don't work on my behalf, Dan, maybe I'll sue you for discriminating against my religion.

public-redux

Good luck. SCOTUS recently declined to involve itself in a Missouri case that pitted the religious freedom of a woman to obtain an abortion without enduring a state government mandate of a medically unnecessary multi-day waiting period.

MD1756

Was that decision pre-Amy? Could that woman cite a religious practice that mandated the abortion without a waiting period? The government clearly discriminates in favor of a few select religions. It is time to end their tax exempt or tax reduced status except maybe the charitable work that can be covered under 501(c)(3).

public-redux

It was pre-Amy. The religious practice involved the third of the Seven Fundamental Tenets of her religion: “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” The lower court held that her religious liberty was not restricted by the government’s mandated waiting period. SCOTUS declined to hear an appeal. Interesting given the recent case involving a religious group in Philly claiming it shouldn’t have to abide by governmental mandates.

MD1756

public-redux, as I've pointed out before, abortion is more about killing an unwanted baby than a woman doing what she wants to her own body. It's not like getting a piercing or tattoo, so I wouldn't buy that religious practice argument. The government has said killing of humans is legal in certain select circumstance and abortion is one of them (death penalty, war, self defense are other examples). Why should abortion be any different. I hope Amy follows the laws and not her religious beliefs when the laws are clearly intended to benefit the general welfare.

public-redux

A ZEF is not a baby.

C.D.Reid

Do you have the legal paperwork to prove that you are now a legitimate, tax exempt, religious organization, MD1756?

DickD

He certainly does, C.D., I helped him draw it up.

bosco

Does the state recognize the Church of the Dude? If so, I'm in.

[ninja]

DickD

Can I join your church of Me?

MD1756

DickD, I will grant your house as your own bishopric.

DickD

Great, thank you MD

..Can I work my way up to Cardinal?

LAR1

Why is it necessary for people to worship a physical building? Services are online and religiousness is 24 hours a day, not an hour in a designated building on a designated day. Is it that the houses of worship want weekly contributions (can be done online or via mail), or perhaps people need to show other people that they are worshiping (why should they care)? Public health and lives are more important than weekly physical presence in a building.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@Lar1

How can you look down on your neighbor or act smug about yourself if you don't actually see who is coming to the church? Isn't that what religion is all about, shaming your fellow man and being able to pat yourself on the back because you are right with Jesus? Imagine if there was no religion ???? The world would be a better place.

DickD

I was with you, P.P. until you said that the world would be better without religion. .In my opinion, Christ made the world better and other religions seek to do the same. .Now the infighting over which religion is right is another whole matter.

MD1756

I used to be a practicing Catholic, but now I'm an agnostic Catholic. I should have never read any part of the Old Testament. My brain is incapable or reconciling how the universe and we got started (no theory satisfies me including the big bang, but I don;t lose sleep over it). One thing I'm fairly certain of is that the Old Testament is a bunch of fables. Many stories are illogical and have many no factual support. I'm less certain on the New Testament except that if the Old Testament can't be believed, why should the new one be believed? In any event, I've come to the conclusion that asking religious groups to pay taxes that everyone else pays does not run afoul of separation of church and state. Where would religion be without the infrastructure that governments provide? The religions, for example, did not build any current roads or bridges. They should help pay for infrastructure just like everyone else. If they want to use public resources, they should be bound by certain public laws and that includes ones designed to provide safety to everyone regardless of their religious beliefs.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@Dick

Name one good thing religion has done?

bnick467

Yes, Dick, Christ DID make the world better. And if "Christians" would follow the teachings of Christ, the world would be a better place. But I have yet to meet a so-called Christian who shuns personal wealth to make all of society a better place. Few so-called Christians are for opening our borders and welcoming immigrants, as Christ taught us to do. Christians don't want us to feed the poor or care for the sick, as this would be too socialist for them. So while I agree that Christ wanted to make the world a better place, you can't convince me that Christians want that same thing.

DickD

Bnick, you are saying all Christians are the same. That is just not true. There are as many good Christians as bad, maybe more. And going to Church does not define anyone as good or bad. Still, anyone going to Church is exposed to Christian beliefs more. What they do with the knowledge is up to them.

Personally, I will feel better if I leave the world thinking I have helped others, even if my record is not perfect.

MD1756

PurplePickles, you might as well ask "Name me one good thing humans have done?" All religions have their faults, but I think the majority of "mainstream" religions have a moderating effect on many people's behavior. That is a good thing.

Dick, [thumbup] on your response.

public-redux

Adherents of some of the Christian religions insist that corporate (their term) worship, including singing, is necessary to the exercise of their religion. It is the command of their god and they have no choice in the matter. It is perhaps not strictly necessary to be inside a building but if that is the only practical choice, then corporate services must, in their view, take precedence over secular concerns such as public health.

It should be noted that not all Christian religions hold to this view.

PurplePickles aka L&M

But since "god" can't command anything because he is imaginary, only existing in one's imagination, we know who is really doing the commanding and it isn't "god".

public-redux

I’m atheist, not anti-theist. Their god may exist; I can’t say it doesn’t based on what I know. What I think we can say definitively is that their god, as described by their bible, can’t exist. It is possible that their god exists ad their bible is wildly inaccurate.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@public-redux

Agreed---their god, as described by their bible, can’t exist. It is possible that their god exists and their bible is wildly inaccurate. I was thinking of the "god" of bible...being that their bible is wildly inaccurate.

DickD

P.P. It is not one good thing that religion has done, it's the guide lines that they set for living. .That is what the Ten Commandments are for. And to enforce them there's the carrot and stick or in religious terms, heaven and hexx. Tell me, don't you feel better doing what is considered right? I do.

public-redux

Dick, How do you know that “what is considered right” is actually right?

Brookhawk

If God does exist, we have all kinds of evidence that he is not a micromanager and doesn't "command" much of anything. God's "command" is just human excuse for doing what they want to do - like Ferdinand and Isabella attempted to get rid of anyone in Spain who wasn't Roman Catholic (some of my own ancestors fled). And as for saving us from ourselves - well, God didn't save millions from Hitler, did he? And he's not saving hundreds of thousands of US people from COVID, is he?

The Ten Commandments are pretty good rules to live by (which many people who profess to be Christians don't), but I don't believe God handed them to Moses. Like another poster, I see the Bible stories as fables, or more accurately, parables - teaching stories. the Bible is not history in the sense that we believe in history. Jesus taught by parables all the time. Where do you think he got the idea?

DickD

Gladys, I like your question on whether what is considered right, is right. Take the story of Robinhood, who stold from the rich to help the poor. That could be considered good by many and bad by others. It could even be looked at as taxation in today's world, with the exception it's legal. Look at what Trump did to cut taxes for the billionaires and large corporations. That was legal but not considered good by many.

So, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

public-redux

Dick, Suppose doing something you think is wrong helps you attain heaven and, conversely, doing something you think is right helps you avoid hell. What do you do?

public-redux

Whoops, miswrote. Doing something you think is right results in (or increases the odds of) your going to hell.

DickD

Another good question, Gladys. My answer is none of us will know until we pass on. At that point the question is will we be able to know and will we care.

public-redux

Dick, I think you are evading the issue. Let me give an example. Suppose you belonged to a religion that regarded homosexuality as sinful. And not only engaging in homosexual behaving but also aiding and abetting its practice by others. Furthermore, suppose you personally believed that all humans have equal rights and should be treated equally under the law. Even homosexual people. In this case, your religion tells what is right, which you said makes you feel better, but you actually believe your religion is wrong.

In this case, what you regard as the carrot (heaven) is leading you to do what you think is wrong. Will you risk the stick for what you think is right?

You don’t have to wait until you die to answer that question.

Livvu

shouldn't this title be "Serial litigator fresh off multiple lost cases in PA, files another meritless appeal in Maryland."?

Dwasserba

"...single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment,' the Supreme Court’s majority opinion read." Uh, churches have spread virus, people died. There is a cynical view of why the Catholic Church in NY pursued this, because it surely was not in the best interest of its random pew fodder. Why align yourself with such a disappointing self-interested entity. PS Go away

olefool

Six of the SCOTUS Justices are Catholics. Freedom of and from religion will be challenged often. We need to expunge religionists from our courts and political houses.

MD1756

Olefool, are you suggesting only avowed atheists should be allowed to sit on the Supreme Court of the U.S.?

public-redux

He said “religionists”. The nuance is to religious zealotry and not to theism. An example of a religionist is someone who thinks civil law should comport with (their) religion. Most religious people are not religionists. Most religious folk are secularists with respect to civil law as are most atheists.

chris

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

PurplePickles aka L&M

In atheist circles it was thought that Obama was a closeted atheist, probably because he didn't wear his religion on his sleeve and seemed to govern as a secularist....me I was hoping Obama would come out as an atheist but soon realized it was safer for him to stay in the closet.

Hayduke2

Maybe use Baruch de Spinoza's take on God and religion instead?

public-redux

I know the Obama-is-atheist thing had some fans. I wasn’t one of them. I do think Trump is atheist.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@public-redux

I agree with you that Trump is an atheist, an outed atheist. He doesn't even pretend to believe......nope his lack of belief hits me in the face everyday, you can't miss it, but some people do miss the obvious right in your face stuff.

MD1756

And what is the criteria from distinguishing a regular practitioner from a zealot? Where do you draw the line? We simply have to take someone at their word that they will rule on cases based on the facts presented and not have their religious believes alter a "plain English" meaning of the laws/regulations or the preambles of the laws/regulations. While I support some form of a public health system I believe the SCOTUS made more moves than a contortionist to say the mandate to purchase insurance was simply a tax. Why didn't Congress just levy a tax to pay insurance (or set up its own program) to cover health costs for all? We all need to and shelter to survive, so will we be required to buy food and shelter insurance at some point in time in the future? Those are even more basic needs than health care.

public-redux

MD, I doubt there are hard and fast criteria that all agree upon. I suspect it is more of a continuous than a discrete variable.

However, I am dubious that you regard religious zealots as indistinguishable from run of the mill religious folk. For example, you have described yourself above as an agnostic Catholic. Would you also describe yourself as a Catholic zealot? If not, perhaps you can identify some criteria.

olefool

MD1756:

Yes. Organized religions and their advocates should have no place or say in our common laws. We are a secular society, not subject to or bound by religious rule; not belonging to or living in a monastic or other order. Scrub our courts and political houses of the preachers and religious politicians and we will all be better for it.

MD1756

Public-redux, there is obviously a continuum, but where do you draw a line so that it isn't arbitrary and capricious? What if a zealot said they can make legal determinations without their religion being a factor? We ask all sorts of people to serve on juries and to set aside personal beliefs and make a finding of guilty or not guilty based only on the evidence and the law. I don't want people imposing their religious beliefs into their legal determinations, but what criteria can you use before hand that is not discriminatory against someone with a religious belief? A zealot to one may not be a zealot to another especially as our society becomes more diverse. Rather than a pre-test I would suggest it is time to rethink supreme court justice appointments as life time positions. There should be certain circumstances when a judge can be removed, although that needs to be thought out so that the process doesn't become more politicized than it currently is. I certainly believe that the public welfare takes precedence over religious beliefs.

public-redux

Where do you draw the line?

LJF0929

When churches begin paying taxes, I will open my ears to their cries. Otherwise, they can participate like everyone else in this pandemic. Lay low and protect the people. What in the world are these pastors thinking, anyway???? Are they above God and can keep the virus from spreading and taking the lives of their worshipers? Come on. I'm so much more worried about the restaurant business and those workers that literally cannot survive without work, or very limited work. Why aren't these lawsuits representing the people that are actually losing their way of life as opposed to those that want to get together - by choice - on a Sunday morning.......

stjohn42

Del. Cox probably ought to read the NY decision before he decides it bolsters his case.

newspostreader

COX, GO AWAY!! Allow our Governor to protect us because you clearly don't care.

gary4books

Religion over public safety? Makes me wonder what they would do if the "Spanish Inquisition" returned. Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition. Either.

TomWheatley

That might be the first Monty Python quote here in the Forums :)

I understand there is a large, empty grandstand available for Del Cox over at the Fairgrounds.

public-redux

Without meaning to diminish gary’s reference one tiny little wafer thin bit, it is far from the first Python quote to grace these boards.

TomWheatley

Inconceivable!!

I have not been posting for many years, so sorry I missed the others.

bnick467

Please, everyone, let Dan Cox know how you feel. Call, email, or fax his office at:

(410) 841-3288, (301) 858-3288

1-800-492-7122, ext. 3288 (toll free)

e-mail: dan.cox@house.state.md.us

fax: (410) 841-3184, (301) 858-3184

DickD

Oh.God, more right wing garbage from Cox. Why don't Republicans wake up and realize that the COVID VIRUS can and will kill you. Then you will need that church for a funeral.

Okay, Hogan is a Republican, but he doesn't have his head buried in the sand like most them.

C.D.Reid

So Dick, from your post do I understand that only Republicans don't wear masks, and that everyone who gets the virus will die from it? Because that sure sounds like what you're trying to say.

gary4books

Long term health problems maybe something to consider, too. We do not know right now.

duffy5x

And it sounds like you're saying that you don't care how many people die so long as you can sit in a pew because you can't possibly worship anywhere else....

Comment deleted.
C.D.Reid

And what proof do you have of your claim fido (not phydeaux?)

threecents

CD, Based on many personal observations, most people who often don't mask are Trump supporters - including Trump. Trump has made it into a political issue. Glad you did not fall into that, but I think Trump would be disappointed in you if he found out.

DickD

Can and will kill you was never intended to mean all people will be killed. Perhaps, it was a poor choice of words but you are one of the few, only one here, to question it. And nowhere did I say only Republicans don't wear masks, but observation and complaints from Trump's supporters certainly make me believe those not wearing a mask are mostly Republicans.

chris

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/10/29/both-republicans-and-democrats-cite-masks-as-a-negative-effect-of-covid-19-but-for-very-different-reasons/ft_2020-10-29_maskwearing_01/

phydeaux994

Observation and to many Republicans a Political Statement of Loyalty and subservience to Donald John Trump.

gary4books

Wikipedia writes: "In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for '"reduction to absurdity"'), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for "argument to absurdity"), apagogical arguments, negation introduction or the appeal to extremes, is the form of argument that attempts to establish a claim by showing that the opposite scenario would lead to absurdity or contradiction." In this case you need a better foundation or it fails.

Piedmontgardener

Does this man live in the same community we do? Is he the representative of all of his district, or someone who's oath is to his political base, screw everyone else? Because that's surely what he's spent his time on this year, while drawing a paycheck signed by the Comptroller paid with all Marylanders tax dollars. Get lost, dude, you really aren't a public servant, you are a man with plans. You'll see the returns on this shortly when your re-election comes up.

Greg F

My god is this guy a pestilence upon the land. He needs a psychiatric exam at the least, and should be brought up on charges for wasting taxpayer funds defending his lunacy. Another trump-easque turd that will never polish well.

Crab0721

Agreed

threecents

Greg[thumbup]

vjhughes

Personally, I’d like to see him and the other plaintiffs go spend a few days working (without a mask or other protection) in a COVID ward at a hospital. Although, of course, that will never happen.

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