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NYC Teachers Fail To Stop COVID Vaccine Mandate While Religious Exemption Noted

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 5 – New York City public school teachers, facing suspension without pay if they do not get the COVID-19 vaccine, sought a Temporary Restraining Order against the mandate.

They lost.       

  On October 5 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil held a hearing. Inner City Press covered it. 

  Judge Vyskocil questioned why the teachers had waited until after the mandate was in effect before seeking a restraining order; she noted they had yet to serve the defendants, including NYC Health Commissioner David Chokshi. 

 While acknowledging that the religious exemption belatedly added by an arbitrator might raise Constitution issues, Judge Vyskocil denied the TRO. She noted other similar cases pending before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

  The religious exemption, the plaintiffs' TRO memo says, is "blatantly discriminatory" in that "requests must be 'documented in writing' by a  religious official (i.e. clergy) and 'shall be denied where the leader of the religious organization has spoken public in favor of the vaccine, or where the documentation is readily available (e.g., from an online source), or where the objection is personal, political or philosophical in nature."

This comes as at least one pastor has offered to sign exemption letters if a person will come to and presumably contribute to his church. Still, the language seems to invite challenge. Judge Vyskocil questioned whether it could be considered a government act, since it was a private agreement before an arbitrator.

This case will have a status conference before SDNY Judge Caproni on October 12 at 11 am.

The case is Kane et al. v. de Blasio et al., 21-cv-7863 (Caproni)


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