NYC Orders Reinstatement Of Workers Fired Over Covid Vaccine Refusal

Before we delve into the ruling of the New York Supreme Court, let us first explain what a vaccine mandate is in the first place. 

A vaccine mandate is a legal compulsion (requirement) for all those stipulated under the law to be vaccinated. It can be narrow in focus (for example, Just for the elderly), or broad-based (for example, everyone must get the requisite number of doses of the said vaccine). 

While in most democratic societies it is true that the Government cannot force you to get a vaccine, you can be denied access to all the places mentioned in the order which instituted the vaccine mandate (which while variable with each order, might include those wearing a mask). In some or a few democratic societies along with most autocratic ones, a vaccine mandate is something that the government can force you to get the number of doses of the authorized vaccine/s in the respective nation or region. 

These vaccine mandates might be at the national, regional, or municipal level, with varying legal authority, it’s important to be informed of what your government has enforced, which can either be found in person or by visiting the websites of the CDC and your respective government at the appropriate level. 

These mandates can vary in their expansiveness, with which municipality, county, and state they are present.

Why Are Vaccine Mandates Controversial? 

The United States has an emphasis on individualism and freedom, although, at times defined distinctly in different parts of the country, some commonalities do exist across the board. 

NYC Orders Reinstatement Of Workers Fired Over Covid Vaccine Refusal

While it does seem that more Republican-aligned counties, states, and municipalities approach these on a more voluntary basis, there is an exception with New York, where a court ordered the vaccine mandate of the state nullified for lacking equal treatment between public and private workers. Albeit states like New York and California have sizeable Republican populations. Although there (California), no such opposition seems to have come to light. 

This controversy between a largely Republican and Democrat split over the issue of covid-19 vaccine mandates, seems to be specific to this disease, as for other illnesses vaccine mandates are still applicable (for ex. Measles, Mumps and Rubella, although the argument for these seems to stem from their well-established use and safety). 

Republicans and Democrats usually protect different sorts of freedoms, generally described as negative and positive freedoms (negative = not requiring external enforcement, positive = requiring external enforcement, in simple terms). In this particular case, opposing vaccine mandates fall under negative freedoms (there are exceptions, Republicans usually support abortion bans and democrats usually support drug legalization). 

What Was The Ruling Of The New York Supreme Court? 

New York State Sitting Judge, Ralph Porzio, lambasted the municipal authority of the City of New York for firing some sanitation workers for failing to adhere to the vaccine mandate of the Mayor, ruling that solely requiring public workers. 

to be vaccinated while exempting private workers in a whole or a subsection (such as athletes) is “arbitrary and capricious”. A ruling was made on Monday, in Staten Island. 

They are required to be rehired and given back pay. 

The city authorities were in opposition to this ruling, stating that it is grounded in law and prior rulings (adding that it is in the interest of public health).

Source Which Supports The City’s Position 

In a Scientific American article dated 5th August 2021, Lawrence O. Gostin wrote that prior Supreme Court rulings in 1905 and 1922, upheld vaccine mandates (1922 one upheld said mandates in schools). The article goes on to argue the ethics, legality, precedent, present practice, protections under current law, and effectiveness of vaccine mandates. For a better view, you can read the article more deeply. 

Source Which Supports The Court’s Position

In support of the court’s ruling, Fox News in their segment, “Fox and Friends” criticized the city authority’s noncompliance with the court order (and for mentioning a critique of their appeal by an attorney representing the fired workers). 

Although, it should be pointed out that appealing a decision is a valid course of action, although it’s not perfectly clear whether the city has halted its action and reversed course, or that it’s sticking to its guns. 

From the report from Fox News, it seems that is what the City is doing.

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