Supreme Court declines to block Maine COVID-19 vaccine mandate

File Photo: UPI/ Stefani Reynolds

Oct. 30 (UPI) — The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of Maine Gov. Janet Mills’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

The high court denied a request to block the mandate in which healthcare workers must be vaccinated by Friday.

Three conservative justices — Samuel AlitoNeil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas — dissented, taking issue with the mandate for not including a religious exemption like other mandates.<

“Where many other states have adopted religious exemptions, Maine has charted a different course. 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,” Gorsuch wrote.

“All for adhering to their constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Their plight is worthy of attention.”

That was the crux of the lawsuit by healthcare workers who objected to the requirement. The Liberty Counsel, a national religious non-profit, filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight healthcare workers and one provider who said they rejected any medicine or procedure developed with or aided by the use of fetal tissue.

The group said the mandate also violates First Amendment protections of freedom of religion.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote a concurring opinion, said she voted with the majority because the case was brought up on the Supreme Court’s emergency docket and the justices didn’t have full briefings or oral arguments.

“In my view, this discretionary consideration counsels against a grant of extraordinary relief in this case, which is the first to address the questions presented,” Barrett wrote.


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