Credit: Fox News
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A New York state Supreme Court justice has just issued a decision regarding pandemic-related mandates that were issued by the Commissioner for New York State, the state Department of Health, and Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul.
Judge Gerard Neri has sided with a group of healthcare workers, the Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, who filed suit against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate back in October. He ruled that the state officials overstepped their authority when they issued the mandate since it is not included in the state’s public health law.
A statement from the state health department said officials are now “exploring options” after the ruling.
“The requirement that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 protects vulnerable New Yorkers and the people who care for them, and it is a critical public health tool. The State Health Department strongly disagrees with the judge’s decision and is exploring all options,” the statement said.
Many New York healthcare professionals faced being fired if they did not receive the vaccine.
Steven M. Cohen, litigation chair with HoganWillig Law Firm, said he believes the ruling will be appealed.
“What his honor did is he said, ‘Look whether you want to take the vaccine or not, that’s up to you but it’s not up to the executive branch of government,’” Cohen said.
Back in November, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for the Supreme Court to hear a case against New York’s vaccine mandate.
The justice denied an emergency request, received by the court on Nov. 4, to block the policy by individual municipal workers, as well as a group called New Yorkers For Religious Liberty, while their appeal of lower court decisions siding with the city proceeds. The plaintiffs – firefighters, building inspectors, police officers, emergency medical technicians, teachers, sanitation workers, and others – are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom conservative religious liberty group.
Sotomayor, who is the justice designated by the court to act on emergency matters arising from New York and certain other states, has repeatedly rebuffed challenges to New York City’s vaccine mandate, including by a police detective in August and public school teachers and assistants last year. The court as a whole in June refused to take up a religious challenge to New York state’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. In New York City in August 2021 ordered employees in the largest U.S. public school system to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Two months later, the city ordered all municipal workers to get the vaccine.
Sotomayor received the application because she is the one who handles applications from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes New York state.
However, this New York Supreme Court ruling is a step in the right direction and a win for healthcare freedom. Hopefully, states will see rulings like this in the near future.