U.S. Supreme Court rejects religious challenge to New York vaccine mandate

(PresidentialWire.com)- New York can move forward with its mandate that all workers in the health-care field be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, even though they don’t offer an exemption for religious reasons.

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected challenges that were brought to the high court by a group of Christian nurses and doctors, as well as an organization that promotes skepticism to the vaccines.

The court rejected the emergency requests for injunctions in the two separate cases. The plaintiffs in the cases were hoping to require New York to allow religious exemptions to the vaccines immediately while general lawsuits over the state’s mandates are continuing in lower courts.

Three conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito — all said they would’ve granted those injunctions. The other six justices on the Supreme Court disagreed.

This ruling probably wasn’t all that surprising, though. The high court had previously rejected similar challenges to mandates like this. The state of Maine also didn’t provide for religious exemptions to its vaccine mandates for all health-care workers.

In filing their challenge, the plaintiffs argued that New York’s mandate violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on religious discrimination made by the government. They also cited a federal civil rights law that requires all employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees.

A lower court also previously rejected their big for the injunction.

On August 26, the state Department of Health in New York ordered that all health-care professionals who regularly have contact with patients or other co-workers have to be fully vaccinated by September 27. That deadline was eventually moved back to November 22.

New York allowed employers the leeway to consider any requests for religious accommodations, and that employees could be reassigned to other jobs, such as those that allowed for remote work arrangements.

Only narrow medical exemptions are provided for under New York’s mandate, including for people who could have a serious allergic reaction to any of the COVID-19 vaccines. In supporting its case, New York said a similar policy is in place for vaccines for rubella and measles, which don’t provide any religious exemption possibilities.

Still, a group of 17 nurses, doctors and health-care professionals, most who are Catholic, denounced what they are calling this “medical dictatorship.” One of the nurses who is part of the group said she eventually agreed to get the vaccine so she wouldn’t lose her job, while the other 16 all said they were either suspended or fired because of their refusal.

In the second case, three Christian nurses served as the plaintiff along with a group based in Connecticut called We the Patriots USA. All three of the nurses are also members of that group.

The plaintiffs all oppose the vaccine mandates, and advocate for many causes including what they term “medical freedom.”

Brian Festa, the co-founder of the group, posted a video on its website in which he says:

“We were fighting against vaccine mandates. We were fighting to reveal the truth about what’s in these shots, long before COVID was even a thing.”