Breaking News: US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says “No” To NYC Workers Who Were Appealing Their Terminations Because of Their Unvaxxed Status.
Of course she did.
Sotomayor and the Southern District of NY are known for issuing decisions that show a biased view against individual rights in New York.
(The Center Square) – For the second time in a month, a court has dealt a blow to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements for workers.
On Tuesday, a Staten Island Superior Court judge ruled in favor of 16 city sanitation workers who were fired for not getting vaccinated after the city issued a mandate a year ago for public sector employees.
In his ruling, Judge Ralph Porzio said the city’s health commissioner does not have the power to establish new working conditions, nor can that person block an employee from reporting for work.
“We have learned through the course of the pandemic that the vaccine against COVID-19 is not absolute. Breakthrough cases occur, even for those who have been vaccinated and boosted,” the judge stated. “President Joe Biden has said that the pandemic is over. The State of New York ended the COVID-19 state of emergency over a month ago.”
Porzio’s ruling means those 16 workers will be reinstated and receive back pay.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver praised Porzio for his ruling. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit organization that’s not involved in the sanitation workers’ case but has filed similar lawsuits for military personnel and health care workers affected by vaccine mandates.
“The court recognizes that the COVID shot does not prevent contracting or transmitting the virus and that the mandates are not about health and safety,” Staver said. “This fact has been obvious from nearly the beginning.”
The city is appealing the decision.
The New York City Law Department said the public sector mandate will remain in place since Porzio’s ruling impacts only the 16 plaintiffs in the case.
Tuesday’s ruling comes a month after a Manhattan judge ruled against the city in a lawsuit filed by the Police Benevolent Association, a union representing New York City police officers. The city, too, has appealed that case, but the mandate has been stayed for officers during the appeal.
And that ruling for NYPD officers was on the heels of Mayor Eric Adams’ decision to lift the vaccine mandate for the city’s private-sector workers. The city will officially lift that vaccine requirement next Tuesday, but the city’s also urging businesses to establish vaccination policies.
When New York City announced the end of the private-sector mandate on Sept. 20, Adams told reporters ending the mandate for city workers was “not on the radar,” citing a phased approach.
“You make the decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating,” he said. “By taking the vaccine, we were able to keep the city open. So the determination now from our medical team is to remove the private sector mandates, remove the sports mandates for children, and that is where we are. And if there’s something’s going to change, we’re going to announce it.”
‘We’re disappointed that Justice Sotomayor is willing to allow NYC’s rampant religious discrimination to continue’
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Thursday rejected an appeal from New York City workers who are challenging the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The workers include firefighters, teachers, police officers, sanitation workers and others who lost their jobs after the city rejected their request for a religious exemption to the COVID vaccine mandate. They filed an emergency application to Sotomayor requesting that the court temporarily stop the city from enforcing the vaccine mandate while the group challenges the city in a lower court.
Sotomayor denied their request without comment and did not consult her colleagues in her decision; she is not required to.
“We’re disappointed that Justice Sotomayor is willing to allow NYC’s rampant religious discrimination to continue,” John Busch, attorney for the workers, told Fox News Digital.
In a legal filing to the Supreme Court last week, the workers argued that New York City violated their right to “freely exercise their faith by forcing them to choose” between keeping their jobs or taking the vaccine against their “sincere religious beliefs.”
Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a civil rights law firm representing the workers, said in their filing that while they await a decision from the Second Circuit, their clients “are suffering the loss of First Amendment rights, are facing deadlines to move out of homes in foreclosure or with past-due rents, are suffering health problems due to loss of their city health insurance and the stress of having no regular income, and resorting to food stamps and Medicaid just to keep their families afloat.”
“As we write in our emergency application for stay, these city heroes have dedicated their lives to serving their neighbors and keeping their city running safely and efficiently, yet New York City officials suspended and fired them because they cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine without violating their sincere religious beliefs,” Bursch told Fox News Digital at the time of the filing. “But for athletes, entertainers and strippers, the city found a way to loosen its mandate.”
Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist workers argued in the lawsuit that the city’s “entirely discretionary” criteria, through which it decides approval for vaccine mandate exemptions, violates their religious beliefs.
“The city never justified why an unvaccinated stripper can spend hours in close proximity to customers in an indoor venue, while a city sanitation worker cannot pick up refuse, outside, with virtually no person-to-person contact absent a vaccination that violates his religious convictions,” the brief said.
The case is currently making its way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, meaning the workers could be waiting months for the court to decide their fate.
Fox News’ Bill Mears and Shannon Bream contributed to this report.