Supreme Court refuses to hear teachers’ challenge to NYC vaccination mandate – again

Topline

New York City’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate for public school workers will be allowed, as the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge brought by four teachers who alleged the policy violated their right to practice their profession.

Highlights

The court dismissed the case without comment or any indication as to whether any of the judges would have taken it on.

Four New York public school teachers asked the court to take up the case in December after an appeals court left the policy in place.

It was the second time they had sought relief from the Supreme Court, as they had previously asked Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees this region, to issue an injunction that would prevent the policy from taking effect, which she has denied.

They argued that the city’s vaccination mandate — which required all Department of Education employees who failed to comply by Oct. 1 to be suspended without pay for a year — violated their rights to due process. and prevented them from teaching, as the Department of Education is the only public employer of teachers in the city.

City attorneys argued that the court should not hear the case because the teachers asked the Supreme Court to hear it prematurely, adding that they “do not cite any authority for their position…and fail to fight the precedent of this Court against them”.

Attorney Vinoo P. Varghese, who represented the teachers, said Forbes in an email, they “are disappointed with the outcome, but we will continue the fight to protect the due process rights of our teachers against the new administration of Mayor Eric Adams.”

Chief Spokesperson

“This case provides the Court with an opportunity to address a critical constitutional issue – whether public school teachers have a fundamental right to practice their profession,” the teachers argued in their court petition.

crucial quote

“There are millions of public school teachers in this country,” New York City Department of Education attorneys argued in their brief to the Supreme Court, saying the teachers who sued “can seek employment elsewhere” outside of New York. “The idea that finding another job may require effort, or that other employers also require vaccination, does not support a substantial due process claim.”

Key Context

The case dismissed Monday is the second the Supreme Court has dismissed regarding New York City’s vaccination mandate for public school teachers. A separate legal challenge asked the court to remove the vaccine requirement for city municipal workers because they argued it was discriminatory with respect to religious exemptions. Sotomayor dismissed that case in February, but the teachers later refiled the case and asked the more conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to consider it instead. Gorsuch sent the suit back to the full court, which dismissed the case a second time in March. Although the conservative court 6-3 ruled against the Biden administration’s federal vaccine or testing mandate for private employers, the court largely let more local vaccine requirements stand, dismissing challenges to policies such as Maine’s mandate for health care workers and the vaccine requirement at Indiana University.

Further reading

Supreme Court allows NYC teachers’ vaccination mandate to go into effect (Forbes)

NYC makes vaccines mandatory for all public school teachers and staff (Forbes)

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