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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to block a New York regulation that requires health care workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine without any religious exemptions.
The vaccine mandate for health care workers, which went into effect in August, allows only for medical exemptions but not religious ones. The Supreme Court turned away two applications from doctors and nurses in the state for injunctive relief to allow religious exemptions while litigation continues in the lower courts over the mandate’s constitutionality.
In this April 23, 2021, file photo members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP)
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.
Gorsuch wrote in his dissent that the mandate turns away the very doctors and nurses the state has depended on throughout the course of the pandemic.
“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,” Gorsuch wrote.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Fox News’ Bill Mears and Shannon Bream contributed to this report.