Supreme Court authorizes vaccination warrant for New York healthcare workers


“Faced with a particularly contagious variant of the virus amid a pandemic that has now claimed more than 750,000 lives in the United States and some 55,000 in New York, the state has urgently decided to require the vaccination of all employees of healthcare facilities who could be infected and expose others to the virus, as long as they can be safely vaccinated, ”wrote a unanimous panel of three appeals court judges in a no signed. “It was a reasonable exercise of the state’s rule-making power to protect public health.”

In one emergency request Calling on the Supreme Court to intervene, lawyers for healthcare workers wrote that the demand “imposes an impermissible choice on New York healthcare workers: give up their faith or lose their careers and their best means of providing for them. their family’s needs ”.

Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of New York, responded that the state did not allow a religious exemption for its long-standing requirements for measles and rubella. The medical exemption for the vaccination requirement, she added, was “narrowly limited in scope and duration”, making very few people eligible.

Overall, she wrote, “achieving high immunization rates in particularly vulnerable settings is of the utmost importance.”

In his dissent, Justice Gorsuch wrote that protecting religious freedom deserved a different approach.

“Today we don’t just fail candidates,” he wrote. “We are failing ourselves.”

“We allow the state to insist on the layoffs of thousands of medical workers – the same people New York has depended on and hired for their service on the front lines of the pandemic for the past 21 months,” the justice wrote . “To add insult to injury, we are allowing the state to deny these people unemployment benefits as well. One can only hope that today’s decision will not be the final chapter in this dark history.

Justice Gorsuch used a similar reasoning in the Maine case.

“Where many other states have enacted religious exemptions, Maine has charted a different course,” he wrote at the time. “There, healthcare workers who have served on the front lines of a pandemic for the past 18 months are now being laid off and their practices closed. All for adhering to their constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Their plight deserves our attention.

Sharon otterman contributed to New York reporting.


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