Sotomayor axes challenge to NYC teachers vax mandate

Yesterday we discussed the four New York City public school teachers who filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to stop the New York City vaccine mandate for all teachers and public school workers that is set to take effect on Monday morning. They had already lost a couple of battles on the local level so this was essentially their last-ditch appeal. The request was sent to Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who had the options of approving the request, denying it, or passing it on to the full court for review. The teachers argued that the mandate infringes on their rights and that the city is not applying these mandates equally to all municipal workers because it lacks an option for teachers to submit weekly negative COVID test results instead of proof of vaccination, such as other workers have been offered. Sotomayor went with the second option, rejecting the request by herself. (NY Post)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has rejected a push to block the city’s vaccination mandate for all Department of Education employees.

In an 11th-hour bid, four city teachers opposed to the jab requirement petitioned the Bronx-born jurist to intervene on Thursday.

But Sotomayor rejected their request Friday afternoon and cleared the way for the city to enforce the mandate beginning Monday.

Sotomayor issued the rejection without providing any explanation and declined to ask the rest of the court to review it. That means that as of Monday morning, up to 1,500 teachers and roughly twice as many non-teaching school workers will not be showing up for work. They will have one week to provide proof of a first vaccination shot or choose between going on unpaid leave with medical benefits or being terminated with a severance package.

Bill de Blasio, who issued the mandate, sent out an announcement. For all teachers and employees who are still not vaccinated by Monday morning, “we will assume you are not coming to work on Monday and you will not be paid starting Monday and we will fill your role with a substitute or an alternative employee,” he said. Where de Blasio plans to find that many vaccinated teachers and other workers on such short notice was not specified.

Even if Sotomayor had referred the request to the full court, it’s not clear whether the teachers might have fared any better. She is one of the most liberal justices on the court, but Amy Cony Barrett, arguably among the most conservative, issued a similar, solo rejection in August to a group of students from Indiana University. They were also seeking to have a vaccination mandate blocked. So the court doesn’t appear to be in the mood to overrule any mayors or governors who are issuing these rules.

This should be a worrisome trend for most of us. It’s not that the government can’t mandate vaccinations in the name of protecting the health of the public. (How much you buy the reasoning here is up to you.) The courts have upheld similar laws in the past. But as the teachers pointed out, the rules should at least be applied evenly to everyone. If some workers are not allowed to decline the vaccine and submit negative test results instead while others, some of whom also come in contact with children regularly, have that option, that’s clearly unequal treatment under the law. Last night’s ruling seems to be another win for the authoritarians and perhaps a troubling sign of things to come.

View Original Source Source