Justice Sotomayor rejects emergency appeal of NYC teachers opposed to vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), last month, announced a mandate requiring that all employees of the city’s Department of Education (DOE) be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Not everyone supports his policy, though, with a group of teachers hoping to see it overturned in court. This week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor left those hopes dashed, as she immediately quashed an emergency appeal for relief that the teachers and their attorneys filed last week. 

Sotomayor’s abrupt decision finishes off a legal battle that has raged back and forth since de Blasio first unveiled the mandate. Fox News reported last week that those wishing to remain unvaccinated scored an initial legal victory when a federal judge issued an order blocking the mandate.

“Courts have spoken”

Yet, that victory was short-lived after the order was quashed two days later after a three-judge panel with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said the vaccine mandate for NYC teachers was legal.

“Vaccinations are our strongest tool in the fight against COVID-19 — this ruling is on the right side of the law and will protect our students and staff,” a DOE official reportedly said after the ruling.

According to the New York Post, the appeals court decision left vaccine-resistant teachers with no recourse but to seek an injunction from the nation’s highest court, hoping at least for a fair shake of consideration, and they couldn’t even get that.

“This Court should grant the injunction after nearly two years of lockdowns, to prevent the largest public-school system in the country from further disrupting the education of hundreds of thousands of students who desperately need in-person teachers,” the teachers’ attorneys argued in a petition to the Supreme Court.

The consequences

Meanwhile, according to the Post, Department of Education spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon said, “Plaintiffs have no valid claims and have stated no basis for the Court’s intervention.”

“Courts have spoken. The Health Department has the authority to implement a mandate that is firmly grounded in science and the expertise of public health officials from across the nation.”

However, the Post reported that Sotomayor denied their request for an injunction on Friday, thus allowing the DOE’s vaccination deadline to take effect on Monday.

The paper noted that DOE employees who fail to comply with its vaccine requirement will be given the option to either take an unpaid year off or resign from their positions with a severance package.

Some have expressed fears over staffing shortages but the DOE has continued to downplay those concerns.

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