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New York City teachers ask Supreme Court to stop vaccine mandate from being enforced

The group’s legal request comes just days after an appeals court upheld the vaccine mandate by siding with the city.

Updated: September 30, 2021 - 7:04pm

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A group of public school teachers in New York City on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the city’s vaccine mandate, which the teachers say is unconstitutional.

According to The Hill, members of the group have varying reasons why they didn't get the COVID-19 vaccine, but all of them want to see the mandate struck down. 

“Thousands of school teachers will lose their livelihoods if they are without pay and cannot work anywhere else, their ability to serve the children of New York City, and, of course, their ranking as teachers,” their lawyer, Vinoo Varghese, told The Hill. 

The group’s legal request comes just days after an appeals court upheld the vaccine mandate by siding with the city. The court’s ruling dissolved the previous injunction placed on the mandate pending litigation.

As a result of the group’s legal setback, the mandate will go into effect on Oct. 4 if the Supreme Court doesn’t intervene.

Following the appeals court’s decision, the group of teachers petitioned Justice Sonia Sotomayor—who handles emergency cases originating from New York— to step in and issue an emergency injunction. 

According to NBC News, one of the main points of contention concerning the mandate is that there is no option for them to opt out of vaccination by weekly COVID testing. The group notes that other city workers like firefighters and police officers, are given this option, yet teachers don’t have any such alternative. 

It is not yet clear how Justice Sotomayor will rule, but according to The Hill, the high court is more likely to reject the teacher’s petition and side with the government on the mandate. 

The only mandate to reach the Supreme Court so far has been from a group of students who sued Indiana University over its vaccine mandate. Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied the students' request without comment.

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