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Attorney sues Cuomo over NY ban on large gatherings, says it infringes on ability to observe Jewish faith

Lee Nigen

By MARCY OSTER
NEW YORK CITY (JTA)
– A Brooklyn attorney has filed a lawsuit accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of violating his right to free speech and ability to observe his Jewish faith because of the state’s ban on large gatherings due to the coronavirus.

Lee Nigen also alleges that telling state residents to limit travel, Cuomo has violated his right to meet with clients, friends, family and “like-minded people,” the New York Post reported.

Cuomo signed an executive order requiring an indefinite ban on large gatherings on March 23. He has yet to impose a travel ban.

The suit filed in Brooklyn federal court named Cuomo and the state government.

“Mr. Cuomo’s threat that his directives will be enforced by law enforcement cause Mr. Nigen to fear arrest if he attempts to travel for any other purpose other than getting medical attention or obtaining groceries, thus impermissibly chilling his exercise of his constitutional rights to travel,” the suit says, according to the Post.

Nigen has been strongly criticized on his Facebook page.

“Your rights stop when the purpose is to protect the greater good,” read one comment. “During a horrific time for the country, you feel the need to file a lawsuit? As a Jew, I’m ashamed you use our religion for this nonsense. And then you wonder why people hate us? Go ahead- ignore the warnings, spread the virus in your community and let’s see how many Jews are dead thereafter you schmuck.”

Nigen posted in response to the criticism.

“To those who ill consider my dissent, I still wish you well, and treasure the right you have to express your opinion,” he wrote. “To the extent that fleeting flame has come upon me at this time of plague and panic, there is only one favor I ask of all: Be well and be free.”

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