Supreme Courtroom declines to dam Maine vaccine mandate

The Supreme Courtroom has rejected an emergency enchantment from well being care employees in Maine to dam a vaccine mandate that went into impact Friday.

Three conservative justices famous their dissents. The state just isn’t providing a spiritual exemption to hospital and nursing dwelling employees who danger dropping their jobs if they aren’t vaccinated.

Solely New York and Rhode Island even have vaccine mandates for well being care employees that lack non secular exemptions. Each are the topic of courtroom fights. On Friday, a federal appeals courtroom panel upheld New York state’s vaccine mandate for well being care employees, rejecting arguments by attorneys for docs, nurses and different professionals that it didn’t adequately shield these with non secular objections.

As is typical in emergency appeals, the Supreme Courtroom didn’t clarify its motion. However Justice Neil Gorsuch mentioned in a dissent for himself and two fellow conservatives that he would have agreed to the well being care employees’ request.

“The place many different States have adopted non secular exemptions, Maine has charted a special course,” Gorsuch wrote. “There, healthcare employees who’ve served on the entrance line of a pandemic for the final 18 months at the moment are being fired and their practices shuttered. All for adhering to their constitutionally protected non secular beliefs. Their plight is worthy of our consideration.”

He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett famous in a brief assertion agreeing with the courtroom’s choice to not intervene that the justices had been being requested to “grant extraordinary aid” in a case that’s the first of its sort. She was joined by a fellow conservative, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The authorized staff that sued to cease the mandate vowed to return to the Supreme Courtroom to press for a full evaluate on the deserves. “This case is much from over,” mentioned Mat Staver, founder and chair of the Liberty Counsel.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills mentioned she was gratified that the mandate was upheld, saying it is crucial for hospitals to “take each precaution to guard their employees and sufferers in opposition to this lethal virus.”

“This rule protects well being care employees, their sufferers, and the soundness of our well being care system within the face of this harmful virus,” she mentioned in a press release. “Simply as vaccination defeated smallpox and vaccination defeated polio, vaccination is the best way to defeat COVID-19.”

The excessive courtroom has beforehand turned away college students at Indiana College and academics in New York Metropolis who objected to being vaccinated. Each the college and metropolis enable individuals to hunt non secular exemptions. The entire justices have been vaccinated.

Maine’s requirement was put in place by the governor. A federal choose in Maine declined to cease the mandate, concluding that the lawsuit was unlikely to succeed. The Oct. 13 choice prompted a flurry of appeals that landed, for a second time, within the Supreme Courtroom.

The Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, claimed to be representing greater than 2,000 well being care employees who do not need to be compelled to be vaccinated.

Dozens of well being care employees have opted to stop, and a hospital in Maine’s second-largest metropolis already curtailed some admissions due to an “acute scarcity” of nurses.

However most well being employees have complied, and Maine residents on the whole have been supportive of the vaccine. The Maine Hospital Affiliation and different well being care teams assist the requirement.

Enforcement of the mandate started on the identical day the governor introduced 80{9408d2729c5b964773080eecb6473be8afcc4ab36ea87c4d1a5a2adbd81b758b} of eligible Mainers had been vaccinated.

Mills mentioned she applauds those that “rolled up their sleeves to do what’s proper for themselves, their neighbors, and their communities.”

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