The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Monday declined to block the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in the state of New York, allowing medical exemptions but rejecting grounds for religious exemptions.
According to a report from Fox News, SCOTUS rejected applications from both nurses and doctors who were seeking injunctive exemptions while the lower courts debated the constitutionality of the mandates.
The court summarized the ruling in a single sentence, “The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Sotomayor and by her referred to the Court is denied.”
According to the SCOTUS Blog, Justice Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented on the decision.
Justice Gorsuch pointed out that the New York vaccine mandate interferes with freedom of religion in his dissent, “We do all this even though the State’s executive decree clearly interferes with the free exercise of religion—and does so seemingly based on nothing more than fear and anger at those who harbor unpopular religious beliefs.”
Proponents of individual liberty and medical choice are unsurprisingly concerned about SCOTUS’ decision to block the temporary ban, but the lower courts have not finished litigation or reached a decision on the constitutionality of the mandates yet.
Additionally, Gorsuch’s dissent is a good indication that if the case were to be brought to SCOTUS again after a federal court ruling, First Amendment rights may have a good chance of prevailing.
Gorsuch continued in his dissent, “Accordingly, before us the parties’ fight focuses dominantly on whether the applicants are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment claim. The answer to that question is clear. The Free Exercise Clause protects not only the right to hold unpopular religious beliefs inwardly and secretly. It protects the right to live out those beliefs publicly in ‘the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts.’”
The Supreme Court decision to turn away applications from those seeking religious exemptions to the tyrannical vaccine mandate in New York will no doubt result in more healthcare workers losing their jobs in the Empire State, even if the decision is reversed later.