NYC vaccine mandate exemption effort dealt blow by federal judge

NYC vaccine mandate exemption effort dealt blow by federal judge

December 15, 2021

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A federal judge in the Southern District of New York denied a motion Tuesday from New York City public school employees for a preliminary injunction against COVID-19 mandates on the basis of religious exemption.

District Judge Valerie Caproni ruled that because the plaintiffs “have not shown irreparable harm or a likelihood of success on the merits, their motion for a preliminary injunction is DENIED,” according to her ruling.

“With no basis for a preliminary injunction, the Court also denies Plaintiffs’ motion that Defendants be ordered to immediately reinstate them to their original positions prior to the enforcement of the vaccine mandate,” the judge continued.

If Caproni, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, had granted the motion, her injunction would have blocked the city from mandating vaccinations for public school employees while they await the court to hear other arguments for vaccine exemptions on religious grounds.

Caproni also denied the requests from the plaintiffs for provisional certification of a class of all Department of Education (DOE) employees who assert religious objections to the vaccine mandate.

“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class of all DOE employees who assert religious objections to the vaccine mandate is DENIED without prejudice because it is premature,” she said.

Valerie E. Caproni, who served as FBI general counsel, talks to reporters after testifying during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on the National Security Letters Reform Act of 2007 on April 15, 2008. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

Caproni’s ruling comes a day after the Supreme Court refused to block a New York regulation mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers.

Hundreds are gathered at the Foley Square as "Freedom Rally" to protest vaccination mandate in New York City, United States on Sept. 13, 2021. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The vaccine mandate for health care workers, which went into effect in August, allows for medical exemptions but not religious ones. The Supreme Court turned away two applications from doctors and nurses in the state for injunctive relief to allow religious exemptions while litigation continues in the lower courts over the mandate’s constitutionality.

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis and Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.

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