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The U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Legal Challenge to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

By Kyle Becker - Becker News November 13, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the federal vaccine mandates imposed curing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The nation’s highest court found insufficient reason to take up the lawsuit, brushing aside arguments that the vaccine mandates infringe on fundamental medical ethics principles like the right to bodily autonomy and informed consent.

Four nurses from New Jersey had petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the state-mandated COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

A decision of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the nurses’ challenge as moot will not be reviewed by the justices.

The justices will not examine a U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision that dismissed the nurses’ challenge as moot. In the Supreme Court’s list of orders released on Nov. 13, the court rejected an appeal in the case, Katie Sczesny, et al. v. Murphy, Gov. of New Jersey, et al. The justices did not offer any justification for the case’s dismissal.

Early in 2022, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order mandating that “unvaccinated covered workers acquire their initial dose of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccination by January 27, 2022.”

Furthermore, by February 28 of that year, said workers are required to provide “sufficient evidence” of having received all of their vaccinations. Individuals who fail to furnish adequate evidence “should be regarded as noncompliant.”

The lawsuit was filed against the governor’s office by the nurses Mariette Vitti, Debra Hagen, Jamie Rumfield, and Katie Sczesny.

The nurses petitioned the high court for an appeal on the grounds that the vaccination requirement violated their Fourth Amendment rights, which they claimed to include the freedom from medical procedure refusal and the right to privacy. They also claimed that the rule violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The plaintiffs alleged that while the order permitted religious or medical exemptions, the state “mass-denied religious exemptions in state institutions, stating that accommodating people with religious exemptions would place a ‘undue burden’ on the state because employees with religious objections to the COVID-19 injections pose a ‘threat’ to public safety.”

Additionally, they contended that the booster mandate “contravenes the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions,” which forbids the government from requiring the renunciation of a constitutional right in exchange for a privilege.

A district judge in the United States ruled against the nurses the previous year, finding that they “failed to establish probable cause of success on the merits of their claim that the Executive Orders violate their freedom rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause” and “failed to demonstrate immediate and irreparable harm.”

The action was deemed irrelevant by an order issued by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals months after the New Jersey mandate was revoked. The nurses, however, lodged a Supreme Court appeal.

In April of this year, Murphy issued an order to repeal the vaccination requirement for health care workers. The governor justified this action on the grounds that it aligns the state “with recent updates to federal requirements and reflects our different circumstances now, as compared to the past few years.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously rejected an appeal against vaccination mandates. The court denied a challenge by Missouri and nine other states in 2022 regarding President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 mandate for federally funded health care facilities. The mandate was subsequently revoked in 2021, coinciding with the conclusion of the public health emergency.

In January 2022, by a vote of 5–4, the Supreme Court permitted the Biden administration to implement the health care worker mandate while lower courts continued to deliberate on its legal merits. Concurrently, the justices halted the administration’s rule mandating weekly COVID-19 tests or vaccinations for employees of companies with at least 100 workers by a vote of 6–3.

In September, a judge in a separate case in New York City ruled that ten New York City Department of Education employees who were terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine must be reinstated with pay. Judge Ralph J. Porzio of the New York State Supreme Court ruled at the time that the city’s denials of religious accommodations for employees were unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious.

“This Court sees no rational basis for not allowing unvaccinated classroom teachers in amongst an admitted population of primarily unvaccinated students,” Judge Porzio wrote in the ruling. “As such, the decision to summarily deny the classroom teachers amongst the Panel Petitioners based on an undue hardship, without any further evidence of individualized analysis, is arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. As such, each classroom teacher amongst the Panel Petitioners is entitled to a religious exemption from the Vaccine Mandate.”

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed in Louisiana represents a significant threat to Big Pharma’s “liability shield.” It comes amidst rising claims of vaccine injuries.

“A lawsuit by Covid-19 vaccine recipients claiming they were injured by their shots may usher in long-awaited changes to how the federal government handles immunization injuries,” writes Ian Lopez of Bloomberg Law.

“Individuals frustrated by the HHS program designed to compensate them for their injuries are taking their grievances to court,” he continues. “In a lawsuit lodged with the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, they say the program is unconstitutional, depriving them of their rights to due process and a jury trial.”

“Lawyers say the move could spur Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services to reform how they handle vaccine injuries, as well as push more of the individuals alleging injuries to not just sue the government, but the drugmakers that the program is meant to shield from litigation,” the article adds.


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