WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Thursday rejected an emergency request filed by a group of New York City teachers and firefighters that, if successful, would have blocked a policy that mandated that all of the city’s municipal workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The emergency request was originally filed with the court on November 4 by NYC municipal workers and a group called New Yorkers for Religious Liberty to block the mandate while they appeal a lower court’s decision that sided with the city’s stance on mandatory vaccination for all employees.
Sotomayor has repeatedly ruled against groups and individuals in New York State attempting to block vaccination mandates during the pandemic, including a police detective in August and public school teachers and assistants in 2021.
In addition, the Supreme Court itself had previously declined to hear a case brought by a group of doctors and nurses seeking religious exemptions to New York State’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
Originally, New York City had ordered all public school teachers to be fully inoculated against COVID-19 by August 2021; in October of that year, the city extended the vaccination mandate to all municipal workers as well.
The NYC municipal workers and New Yorkers for Religious Liberty’s ongoing legal challenges to the mandate contend that being forced to choose between their vaccination status and their jobs is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment against religious discrimination.
The group’s main objection to vaccines is that they claim they contain cell lines from aborted fetuses, which they say goes against their religious beliefs; however, reports indicate that aborted fetal cells were only used in the development and testing of the current crop of vaccines, and are not present in the actual vaccines themselves.