New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, admitted to Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he didn't think about the Bill of Rights before issuing an order that has resulted in people being arrested for attending religious gatherings, according to the Daily Caller.
Coronavirus-related state lockdown orders include bans on gatherings of more than 10 people, making most normal religious gatherings impossible. In a heavily Jewish community in New Jersey earlier this month, 15 people were charged for attending an Orthodox Jewish funeral.
Carlson asked Murphy about the potential constitutional considerations of an executive order that hinders religious expression. Murphy, apparently, hadn't thought about it.
"Now, the Bill of Rights, as you well know, protects Americans' right, enshrines their right to practice their religion as they see fit and to congregate together, to assemble peacefully," Carlson said. "By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?"
"That's above my pay grade, Tucker," Murphy responded. "I wasn't thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. We went to all — first of all, we looked at the data and the science …"
"I can tell," Carlson said.
As Murphy continued to return to the talking points about the need for social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, Carlson acknowledged the public health considerations but continued to press Murphy on the specific question of where he, an elected official, drew the authority to order something that directly contradicts the Bill of Rights by telling people where and how they can worship.
Murphy still didn't answer that directly, but said he had spoken to religious leaders in the state and that his policies were supported.
"Government's not allowed to tell people how to worship," Carlson said.
NJ governor ignores Bill of Rights in exclusive Tucker interview youtu.be