US Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday refused to block vaccine mandate for public school employees of New York. A group of the city's teachers had requested to block the mandate.
Justice Sotomayor did not offer any comment on her refusal and did not refer the case to other judges, indicating a consensus on the matter among the Supreme Court judges, CNN reported. Justice Amy Coney Barrett had also rejected a similar request to block Indiana University's vaccine mandate in August.
The group of teachers, who had requested that the mandate be blocked, argued through their lawyers that New York City, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have put a burden on public school teachers that is "unconstitutional". They had asked the court to block the mandate till the appeals are heard.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that about 148,000 school employees would have to get at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by September 27. The policy covers teachers, along with other staffers, such as custodians and cafeteria workers.
The practical effect of the mandate was that teachers and other employees would have been unable to work, beginning Tuesday, if they had failed to get vaccinated.
A federal district court earlier refused to block the mandate of the city and had said that it "represents a rational policy decision surrounding how best to protect children during a global pandemic," CNN reported.
Although the court had admitted that there are other ways the spread of the virus can be contained and prevented, "it is not shocking for the City to conclude that vaccination is the best way to do so, particularly at a time when viral transmission rates are high."
A federal appeals court had blocked the vaccine mandate in an initial order but it was soon lifted.