The Supreme Court on Monday voted 6-3 to deny relief for New York healthcare workers who were denied religious exemptions from the mandates to submit to COVID-19 experimental vaccines.
Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined the court’s left yet again. In October, the pair joined the left to deny emergency relief to Maine healthcare workers seeking the same exemption in a 6-3 decision along the same lines. The request was presented to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
In both cases, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the dissenting opinion with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas joining him in defending freedom.
In this decision, nobody in the court’s majority bothered to provide justification for their vote with it only stating that the “application for injunctive relief presented to JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR and by her referred to the Court is denied.”
Gorsuch, on the other hand, did write a 14-page dissent in which he effectively called the court a failure. He wrote:
“Today, we do not just fail the applicants. We fail ourselves. It is among our Nation’s proudest boasts that, ‘[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in [matters of] religion.’… In this country, ‘religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit… protection.’… Nor is the free exercise of religion ‘limited to beliefs which are shared by all of the members of a religious sect.’… Millions have fled to this country to escape persecution for their unpopular or unorthodox religious beliefs, attracted by America’s promise that ‘[e]very citizen here is in his own country. To the protestant it is a protestant country; to the catholic, a catholic country; and the jew, if he pleases, may establish in it his New Jerusalem.’”
In his conclusion, Gorsuch wrote: “Still, it seems the old lessons are hard ones. Six weeks ago, this Court refused relief in a case involving Maine’s healthcare workers…. Today, the Court repeats the mistake by turning away New York’s doctors and nurses. 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. We allow the State to insist on the dismissal of thousands of medical workers—the very same individuals New York has depended on and praised for their service on the pandemic’s front lines over the last 21 months. To add insult to injury, we allow the State to deny these individuals unemployment benefits too. One can only hope today’s ruling will not be the final chapter in this grim story. Cases like this one may serve as cautionary tales for those who follow. But how many more reminders do we need that ‘the Constitution is not to be obeyed or disobeyed as the circumstances of a particular crisis . . . may suggest’?”
The mandate is likely to affect nearly half a million workers in New York who have not been granted religious exemptions, but also for those who have as the mandate claims to invalidate any religious exemption that has been granted.
Life Site News reported that the mandate that stripped workers of the ability to seek religious exemptions came in August after Gov. Kathy Hochul replaced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo after his resignation.
Hochul made disturbing statements in September when she said those who have not taking the shots “aren’t listening to God and what God wants.”
But, also in September, the Thomas More Society defended the healthcare workers and helped them receive a temporary restraining order (TRO) from federal district court Judge David Hurd.
“In order to satisfy the legal burden to obtain a TRO, you have to show that it is likely you will prevail on the merits … it’s an extraordinary remedy which is rarely granted,” Stephen Crampton, senior counsel, told Life Site News. He added: “The main objection is a religious one, it is the conviction that they would be, in effect, cooperating with condoning the taking of innocent human life through abortion, because each of the vaccines currently available was tested and/or produced with fetal cell lines from aborted babies.”
Gorsuch noted the change in gubernatorial administrations in New York in his dissent.
“New York recently issued a regulation requiring healthcare workers to receive a COVID–19 vaccine,” Gorsuch wrote. “Those who cite medical reasons are exempt. But no comparable exemption exists for individuals whose sincere religious beliefs prevent them from taking one of the currently available vaccines.”
Gorsuch added: “It seems New York is one of just three States to have a scheme like this. And it seems originally even New York was headed in a different direction. When it announced the mandate, the then-Governor promised a religious exemption. Weeks later, the State backtracked. It offered no scientific evidence, or even a written explanation, for the decision.”
“In this case, no one seriously disputes that, absent relief, the applicants will suffer an irreparable injury. Not only does New York threaten to have them fired and strip them of unemployment benefits… 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,” Gorsuch wrote.
Content syndicated from TheLibertyLoft.com with permission.