Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to New Jersey Vaccine Mandate


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal about COVID-19 vaccine requirements at work, which was bad news for people who don’t believe in vaccines all over the country.

The order list from the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning showed that the court would not be hearing any more arguments in the case Katie Sczesny, et al. v. Murphy, Gov. of New Jersey, et al. The main focus of the case was on four nurses in New Jersey who sued against the state’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements at work, citing health and religious freedom issues.

The Supreme Court didn’t say why it didn’t want to hear the case, but this decision means that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision can stand, Newsweek reported.

The lower court said that the nurses’ challenge to the vaccine requirement did not go against their constitutional rights. They also upheld an order from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

“We are disappointed the Supreme Court did not take up this issue now, but we hope that it will take up this question soon, whether in this case after final judgment or another case. We need our highest court to provide guidance on this important question of liberty before another pandemic and another emergency vaccine,” Dana Wefer, a lawyer for the four nurses who filed the lawsuit, said.

This comes at a time when some Americans are still questioning how well the COVID-19 vaccine works and why workers had to get vaccinated during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The four nurses, Katie Sczesny, Jamie Rumfield, Debra Hagen, and Mariette Vitti, sued the state of New Jersey in April of last year, saying that executive orders about the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for vaccine boosters were against the Constitution.

The nurses say in one part of their complaint that Murphy’s Executive Order 283 required healthcare workers to get COVID-19 shots and boosters.

The nurses wrote that EO 283 “violates the liberty and privacy rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including the right to refuse medical procedures and the right to not be subject to medical surveillance by government actors.”

They also said that the requirements for vaccines violated their religious freedoms. One part of the complaint says that Sczesny was pregnant and did not want to get a booster shot while she was pregnant. According to the complaint, Sczesny’s boss told her that being pregnant “was not a legitimate reason to wait to receive her booster.”

The lower court of appeals later threw out the challenge, but the four nurses filed it again, this time asking the Supreme Court to hear their case.

Earlier this year, a New York state Supreme Court justice issued a scathing decision in regard to pandemic-related mandates issued by the Commissioner for New York State, the state Department of Health, and Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Judge Gerard Neri sided with a group of healthcare workers, the Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, who filed suit against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, ruling that the state officials all overstepped their authority when they issued it since it is not included in the state’s public health law.

Neri wrote in the ruling that the mandate is “null and void.”

“In true Orwellian fashion, the respondents acknowledge that then-current COVID-19 shots do not prevent transmission,” he also noted, the outlet reported.

A statement from the state health department said officials were “exploring options” moving forward after the ruling.

“The requirement that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 protects vulnerable New Yorkers and the people who care for them, and it is a critical public health tool. The State Health Department strongly disagrees with the judge’s decision and is exploring all options,” said the statement from the DOH.

“It feels like it should’ve happened, you know, a long time ago,” Rachel Ponka, a registered nurse, told the outlet, adding that it’s a step in the right direction.


“It’s definitely great news to hear and I’m sure a lot of people are relieved about it,” she noted.

The outlet added: “When the vaccine mandate went into effect in 2021 under former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Ponka said she didn’t follow through with the requirement at a senior care center she worked at in Olean. She ended up losing her job as a result.”

“It was heartbreaking, and it really shook me up, and I went through some pretty bad depression financially,” Ponka said.


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