Supreme Court Spurns Effort to Roll Back Vaccine Mandate in New York

December 13, 2021 by Dan McCue
Supreme Court Spurns Effort to Roll Back Vaccine Mandate in New York
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch at the National Archives. (Screen grab by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected two emergency requests from health care workers who claimed New York State’s vaccine mandate unfairly refuses to exempt those with religious concerns.

In the underlying complaint, three nurses and a group called We the Patriots USA argued the New York State mandate was flawed because it allows for exemption for those with medical objections to getting vaccinated, but not for those who object on religious grounds.

The rule applies to workers in hospitals and nursing homes, home health agencies, adult centers and hospices.

Generally speaking, the justices have seemed inclined this term to allow state mandates to go forward, but Justice Neil Gorsuch said in a dissent filed Monday that he believes the majority got it wrong in this case.

Among other things, Gorsuch noted that New York had revised its mandate to accommodate medical exemptions.

“Even if one were to read the State’s actions as something other than signs of animus, they leave little doubt that the revised mandate was specifically directed at the applicants’ unorthodox religious beliefs and practices,” Gorsuch wrote.

Most other states, he added, have “found that it can satisfy its COVID-19 public health goals without coercing religious objectors to accept a vaccine.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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