Judge strikes down Washington DC COVID vaccine mandate

The Washington Times reports that a judge has just struck down a Washington, D.C., COVID-19 vaccine mandate for local police. 

This was one of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s numerous COVID-19 mandates. Bowser announced this mandate in Aug. 2021. Although she did allow for religious or medical exemptions, Bowser ended up eliminating the possibility that officers could get tested to satisfy the mandate.

A police union brought a lawsuit challenging the mandate on the grounds that it was unfair and damaging to recruitment.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Maurice A. Ross agreed.

Lacking the authority

Ross specifically found that Bowser, as mayor, lacked the authority to impose such a COVID vaccine mandate on police officers.

“It is undisputed that the mayor has a strong interest in combating the spread of COVID-19,” Ross wrote. “However, our system does not permit the mayor to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends.”

Now, Ross has stopped Bowser from imposing the mandate. And, on top of this, Ross has ordered D.C. to reimburse punished police union members for “any loss of benefits, pay, or rights and all related disciplinary proceedings to be expunged from their records.”

Gregg Pemberton, the chair of the D.C. Police Union, celebrated the decision as a “significant victory,” one that “ensures that [officers] will no longer be forced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine against their will and will no longer be subjected to discipline for deciding not to receive the vaccine.”

In related news

Later in the day, after Ross released his decision, it was reported that Washington, D.C. has decided to push back the enforcement date of another one of Bowser’s COVID vaccine mandates. This particular mandate is for school students 12 years of age and older. It is part of Bowser’s “No Shots, No School” policy.

“To reduce the number of students who could be excluded from school at any one time, and to align schools and LEAs to one unified notification and exclusion timeline, the District is implementing staggered enforcement based on grade band,” the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced.

Now, the enforcement of the mandate has been delayed until January.

It is not clear why this decision was made. It is also not clear why Democrats like Bowser continue to try to enforce such COVID vaccine mandates.

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