Petition filed over N.Y. vaccine mandate

Protesters rally outside Samaritan Medical Center in September against the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Provided photo

Lawyers representing 17 health care workers in New York have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in their battle to overturn Gov. Kathy Hochul’s industry-wide vaccine mandate.

According to the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group representing the workers, a petition was filed last week asking the High Court to issue an emergency injunction prohibiting the mandate to go into effect without a carve-out for workers who aren’t vaccinated for religious reasons after conflicting rulings in lower courts.

In August, at Hochul’s urging, the state Department of Health issued an edict that all health care workers must receive COVID-19 vaccines or lose their jobs.

The order made an exception for people with medical reasons for not getting vaccinated, but did not include a religious exemption.

A group of workers filed suit, arguing the rule violated their First Amendment rights. A federal judge in the Northern District of New York agreed and issued a temporary stay on the ban while the case is being litigated. Lawyers for the state appealed and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the district judge’s stay, allowing the vaccine mandate to go into effect without a religious exemption.

“Two doctors working in the same hospital, with the same patients, are treated differently based on nothing but the religious motivation of the one seeking a religious exemption versus the one seeking a medical exemption. The unprecedented First Amendment violation could not be more apparent,” said Christopher A. Ferrara, who is lead counsel in the district court proceedings.

The Supreme Court has not indicated whether it will grant the emergency injunction the workers are seeking.

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(1) comment

hermit thrush

if you are enjoying the pandemic and hope it continues, then send thanks to these lawyers.

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