On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied a request of New York City workers fighting the city's Covid-19 vaccine mandate that asked for a temporary stop on the mandate enforcement as they wait for a lower court to determine if the mandate violated their rights on religious grounds.
According to Fox News, the workers' attorney, John Bursch, said, "We're disappointed that Justice Sotomayor is willing to allow NYC's rampant religious discrimination to continue."
Many frontline workers, including police, teachers, sanitation workers, and firefighters, requested exemptions from NYC's Covid mandate along religious grounds. Many of them were then fired for not complying.
The group, represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom, argued in their Supreme Court filing last week that the city prevented them from freely exercising "their faith by forcing them" to either get the vaccine or lose their job. They asked Sotomayor for a temporary stop of the mandate, which they oppose out of "sincere religious beliefs," while their case plays out in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a process that could take months
Sotomayor denied that request and gave no additional comment
Bursch said these workers "are suffering the loss of First Amendment rights, are facing deadlines to move out of homes in foreclosure or with past-due rents, are suffering health problems due to loss of their city health insurance and the stress of having no regular income, and resorting to food stamps and Medicaid just to keep their families afloat."
"As we write in our emergency application for stay, these city heroes have dedicated their lives to serving their neighbors and keeping their city running safely and efficiently, yet New York City officials suspended and fired them because they cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine without violating their sincere religious beliefs," Bursch said.
The brief filed by Bursch read, "The city never justified why an unvaccinated stripper can spend hours in close proximity to customers in an indoor venue, while a city sanitation worker cannot pick up refuse, outside, with virtually no person-to-person contact absent a vaccination that violates his religious convictions."
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