The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from Maine health care workers to halt a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect Friday. Health care workers in hospitals and nursing homes across the state are at risk of losing their jobs if not vaccinated.
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch listens as he is asked a question by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Three justices – Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – signed on to a dissent written by Gorsuch, who suggested they would have adhered to the request from Maine health care workers.
“This case presents an important constitutional question, a serious error, and an irreparable injury,” Gorsuch wrote. Maine is following a different path than many others that have adopted religious exemptions. There, healthcare workers who have served on the front line of a pandemic for the last 18 months are now being fired and their practices shuttered. They did so because they adhered to constitutionally protected religious beliefs. “
From left to right, Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor. From left to right, Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. (Photograph: Fred Schilling. Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.
(Supreme Court of the United States)
“Their plight is worthy of our attention,” Gorsuch added. I would grant relief. Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined Justice Brett Kavanaugh in stating that the court had “discretionary judgement” about whether or not to consider emergency appeals such as this. She also claimed that the court was asked to grant “extraordinary relief”. “
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills imposed the Maine vaccine requirements. The mandate was not stopped by a federal judge in Maine, who concluded that it would be difficult to win a case. The Oct. 13 decision prompted a flurry of appeals that landed, for a second time, in the Supreme Court.
The Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, claimed to be representing more than 2,000 health care workers who don’t want to be forcibly vaccinated.
In August, Barrett denied an appeal from students at Indiana University to block the school’s vaccine mandate.