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Justices won't block vaccine mandate for NY health workers

Supreme Court
Posted at 3:27 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 15:41:38-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has refused to halt a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers in New York that does not offer an exemption for religious reasons.

The court acted Monday on emergency appeals filed by doctors, nurses, and other medical workers who say they are being forced to choose between their jobs and religious beliefs.

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito dissented.

New York is one of just three states, along with Maine and Rhode Island, that do not accommodate health care workers who object to the vaccine on religious grounds.

Six weeks ago, the court refused relief in a case involving healthcare workers in Maine, Gorsuch said in a 14-page opinion.

The Associated Press reported that in the Maine case, the same three justices were in dissent.

"Today, the Court repeats the mistake by turning away New York’s doctors and nurses," Gorsuch wrote. "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."