In a recent emergency application before the United States Supreme Court, the justices declined an appeal from Maine health care workers to stop the enforcement of a vaccine mandate that did not contain a religious exemption. Though certainly disappointing, those concerned with these oppressive vaccine mandates should not read much into the denial, and indeed should be encouraged by Justice Neil Gorsuch’s excellent discussion of the legal principles involved which Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined.
It was disappointing that Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh declined to hear the case, but we should note their denial was a technical one as to the timing of the appeal. “[D]iscretionary consideration counsels against a grant of extraordinary [emergency] relief in this case, which is the first to address the questions presented,” wrote Justice Barrett. Practically all she wrote in her one-paragraph concurring opinion.
The bottom line is that the Supreme Court will end up taking one of the many cases challenging these vaccine mandates soon, and I am extremely confident that, at the very least, a religious exemption will be required.
Any government or private entity taking action against a worker’s request for religious accommodation does so at their own peril, putting itself at serious risk of legal liability once these cases work themselves out which will not take long, given how aggressively the strong arm of government is seeking to assert itself.
Not even a week after the Supreme Court’s denial in this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked the Biden administration’s latest mandate. “Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby STAYED pending further action by this court,” the per curiam (by the court) noted.
There are a lot of moving parts in this battle, so be patient and continue to pray for the judges, the justices, and the attorneys involved. The Biden mandate is to take effect on January 4, so the one thing that we can be sure of is that it will move fast.
I commend to you Justice Gorsuch’s exceptional dissent from the denial of the application for injunctive relief against Maine’s vaccine mandate which demonstrates why we can be confident that religious liberty will win. The government must treat religious exceptions on the same level as any other exemptions. They cannot target religious exemptions as less worthy of protection. “Maine has so far failed to present any evidence,” wrote Justice Gorsuch, “that granting religious exemptions to the applicants would threaten its stated public health interests any more than its medical exemption already does.”
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. All for adhering to their constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Their plight is worthy of our attention.
Indeed. This is why the Court will have to address the issue in the not too distant future. Continue to pray.