The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo for new executive orders issued this week that allow gatherings up to ten people for people commemorating Memorial Day or gathering for religious purposes, while previous orders maintain a ban on protest and other First Amenment-protected activity.
Our plaintiff, Linda Bouferguen, is a New York City resident who has been arrested twice outside City Hall in New York City for protesting the statewide shutdown. At each protest, one of which involved seven people and the other fewer than twenty, all participants were at least six feet apart and nearly all wore masks. Ms. Bouferguen wishes to organize another similar demonstration , abiding the crowd size and other gathering requirements in the orders. However, both the city and the governor’s office rebuffed requests for approval of her event.
The lawsuit seeks to declare the governor’s actions violate the First Amendment, restrain the government from enforcing the gathering ban against Ms. Bouferguen’s scheduled event, and permanently enjoin the government from enforcing public-gatherings ban against protest events with ten or fewer people who engage in social distancing.