This week, a federal court in New York extended a previously granted temporary restraining order (TRO) against officials of the New York state government, stopping the enforcement of the state’s mandate that all healthcare workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine to continue employment.
The TRO was initially issued by Judge David Hurd on September 14 and will now be the subject of a hearing on October 12 to determine if the restriction against the vaccine mandate should be made permanent.
The order arises from a lawsuit that alleges that New York officials acted against federal discrimination laws when they refused to include any religious exemptions to their COVID vaccine mandate.
Attorney Stephen Crampton of the Thomas More Society explained that a TRO could only be issued by a trial court when a plaintiff can show that they will likely prevail on the merits of their case when a trial is held. When the likelihood of success is combined with proof that immediate harm will result without the TRO, the court may issue the order to be effective while the parties prepare for the trial of the case.
Crampton explained that religious exemption in the case relates to the objection to the taking of innocent human life through abortion, as each vaccine that the federal government has approved was “tested and produced with fetal cell lines from aborted babies.”
The lawsuit claims that the failure to include a religious exemption violates the Constitution’s protections of free exercise of religion and the Supremacy Clause, which provides that state laws are subordinate to properly enacted federal laws.
The New York Department of Health said that Governor Kathy Hochul is “doing everything in her power” to increase vaccination rates in the state. The statement also said it is “considering all of our legal options” in light of the court’s order extending the TRO.
New York’s Public Health and Planning Council removed all religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate on August 26.