New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has long been known for pushing some of America’s most aggressive COVID-19 pandemic policies.
That was confirmed again in August when teachers and employees of the city’s Department of Education (DOE) were told they would need to be vaccinated in order to stay employed. Although the teachers mounted a legal challenge, liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor handed them a loss, the Washington Examiner reports.
Justice Sotomayor moved on Friday to turn down the plaintiffs’ request for an emergency injunction blocking the vaccine requirement.
Sotomayor offered no explanation for her decision, which concludes months of legal battles between the DOE and vaccine-skeptical NYC teachers and staffers.
A double standard?
Fox News reported last month that teachers and other DOE staff members scored an initial victory after a federal judge prohibited the vaccine mandate from taking effect in the form of a temporary injunction.
However, the network noted that the decision was quashed just two days later by a three-judge panel with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals that found the vaccine mandate to be lawful.
“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 said of the ruling.
Attorneys representing four New York City school teachers responded by filing a petition with the Supreme Court that explained how other city workers are being treated differently.
“If permitted to take effect, the August 23 Order will force thousands of unvaccinated public-school employees to lose their jobs while other municipal employees, including those who have significant contact with children, are allowed to opt-out of the vaccine mandate through weekly COVID-19 testing,” the petition read.
De Blasio pleased
The New York Post reported that the employees who fail to get vaccinated will have the option of receiving a severance package or taking an unpaid year off.
For his part, de Blasio reacted with praise to news of Sotomayor’s decision, tweeting, “Nothing is more important than the safety of our [New York City schools] staff, faculty, and students.”
“Thank you to the Supreme Court for standing with us to protect our [New York City schools] community from [COVID-19],” he added.