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Supreme Court refuses to block Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

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Supreme Court refuses to block Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

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The United States Supreme Court has dismissed an emergency appeal by Maine healthcare workers to suspend a COVID-19 vaccine warrant that went into effect on Friday.

Health care workers in hospitals and nursing homes statewide risk losing their jobs if they are not vaccinated and given religious exemptions.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch listens to a question from Senator 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)
(PA)

Three judges – Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – signed a dissent written by Gorsuch, which suggested they would have acceded to the Maine healthcare workers’ request.

“This case presents an important constitutional question, a serious error and irreparable harm,” Gorsuch wrote. “Where many other states have enacted religious exemptions, Maine has charted a different course. There, healthcare workers who have served on the frontlines of a pandemic for the past 18 months are now being laid off and their closed practices, all for having adhered to their constitutionally protected religious beliefs.

Supreme Court refuses to block Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

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Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. (Photograph by Fred Schilling, United States Supreme Court Collection)
(United States Supreme Court)

“Their plight deserves our attention,” Gorsuch added. “I would grant relief.”

In a statement of agreement with the court’s reluctance to get involved in the case, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was joined by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, said the court had a “discretionary judgment” on the opportunity to take emergency calls like this and claimed that the court was being asked “to grant extraordinary relief”.

Supreme Court refuses to block Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

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Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday, October 12, 2020, on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, Pool)
(PA)

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills ordered Maine’s vaccine requirement. A federal judge in Maine refused to stop the warrant, concluding that a trial was unlikely to succeed. The October 13 decision sparked a wave of appeals that landed, for the second time, in the Supreme Court.

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The Liberty Counsel, who filed the complaint, said they represent more than 2,000 healthcare workers who do not want to be forcibly vaccinated.

In August, Barrett rejected an appeal from Indiana University students to block the school’s vaccination mandate.

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