‘That’s above my pay grade, Tucker…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) New Jersey’s Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy admitted that he “wasn’t thinking” about the Bill of Rights when he passed an executive order prohibiting churches and other houses of worship from gathering.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson, the conservative Fox News host asked Murphy about arrests made in early April when New Jersey officials detained 15 men who were congregating for a rabbi’s funeral at a Lakewood synagogue.
Carlson reminded Murphy that Americans have the “right to practice their religion as they see fit and to congregate together to assemble peacefully” under the First Amendment.
“By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order?” Carlson asked. “How do you have the power to do that?”
Murphy responded: “That’s above my pay grade, Tucker.”
Murphy went on to say that he “wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights,” and that he was only concerned with the number of people in his state who have died from the coronavirus over the past month.
“We looked at all the data and the science and it says people have to stay away from each other,” Murphy explained.
“That is the best thing we can do to break the back of the curve of this virus, that leads to lower hospitalization and ultimately fatalities,” he added.
Carlson continued to press Murphy, asking the Democratic governor again where he found the authority to suspend citizens’ constitutional rights.
Murphy claimed that he has “broad authority within the state” that allows him to take drastic action, but clarified that this drastic action was only taken after “coordinating, discussing, and hashing it out with the variety of the leaders of the faiths of New Jersey.”
Murphy insisted that he was not prohibiting religious belief but only the right to assemble—which also is protected under the First Amendment.
“[People] have to find a different way to worship,” he concluded.