A federal judge in New York sided with 17 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who sued to block the state’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, claiming it’s unconstitutional.
In his filing Tuesday granting a temporary restraining order, U.S. District Judge David Hurd said the New York State Department of Health cannot enforce the mandate against employees who oppose the vaccine for religious reasons.
Hurd — an appointee of former president Bill Clinton — also said the Department of Health cannot punish or retaliate against the plaintiffs for refusing the vaccine on religious grounds.
The 17 healthcare workers are Christians who say the vaccines used “aborted fetus cell lines” in their testing and development, according to a Sept. 13 lawsuit they filed against Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Christopher Ferrara, the special counsel for the Thomas More Society, is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
He said New York’s compulsory Covid vaccinations as a requirement for continued employment is a “brazen power grab by people who think they can get away with anything.”
In a statement Tuesday, Ferrara said statewide vaccine mandates are unconstitutional and oppressive.
“Never in the history of New York State, never in the history of the world, has a government sought to forcibly impose mass vaccination on an entire class of people under threat of immediate personal and professional destruction,” he said.
“This is just another example of how Covid regimes are completely out of control. The federal judiciary has a duty under the Constitution to put a straight jacket on this institutional insanity.”
Ferrara underscored that the plaintiffs are not “anti-vaxxers, as the fake news media calls them.”
He said his clients do not oppose vaccines, but merely object to the government substituting its own judgment for private medical decisions that individuals should make.
“They are, in fact, in favor of voluntary vaccination with informed consent, but they oppose jack-booted coercion by the state to take a vaccine their religion forbids them to take,” Ferrara said. “This is America, not Red China.”
Judge Hurd gave the defendants until Sept. 22 to respond to the plaintiff’s lawsuit.
He also scheduled a Sept. 28 hearing for oral arguments in Utica (in Upstate New York).
Hours later and 246 miles away, a Manhattan judge also blocked New York City’s vaccine mandate for Department of Education workers.
New York Supreme Court judge Larry Love, a Democrat, temporarily barred the city from enforcing the mandate, which requires all DOE employees to get at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27 or they’ll be fired.
A teachers union representing 30,000 workers filed a lawsuit, saying the city should allow an exemption for individuals with allergies so they can opt for weekly testing instead of getting jabbed.
Henry Garrido, the president of District Council 37, told the Manhattan Times: “We have people who are allergic to vaccines who have been told by their doctor that they should not take the shot.”
“We have one member who got the first dose and had a severe allergic reaction,” he explained.
Garrido said his union members are not anti-vaxxers, but merely oppose draconian government mandates that don’t allow a weekly testing alternative to the vaccine.
“We’re supportive of people getting vaccinated. But what we’re saying is not everybody is on the same page,” he said. “You have to provide reasonable accommodation for people who, for whatever reason, don’t have the ability to get the vaccine.”
Garrido said it is an unfair labor practice to threaten to fire employees who cannot get vaccinated for health reasons.
“If you’re told that you need to get vaccinated and become really sick — something your doctor is telling you not to do — or you’re going to lose your job, that is a terrible choice to make,” he said.
“It’s a terrible position to be putting themselves in, especially when they’re willing to be tested on a weekly basis.”
The anti-vaccine movement is picking up steam in New York, a staunch Democratic stronghold.
This contradicts the false left-wing narrative that only Republicans or “uneducated Trump supporters” oppose vaccine mandates.
In reality, numerous people of all political stripes have legitimate concerns about a vaccine that has not withstood long-term medical scrutiny.
This battle is just getting started. Stay tuned for more legal fireworks.