In Maine, a state law in effect since 1989, requires hospital and healthcare institutions to have workers vaccinated against all kinds of contagious diseases. Recently, the state released a mandate rejecting religious exemption as reason for not getting vaccinated. Although a group of health workers requested the Supreme Court to uphold their religious right to refuse vaccination, the court decided to uphold the state of Maine’s new vaccination mandate instead.
Actually, this is not the first time that such a petition challenging the vaccine mandate of state has been rejected, the Maine health workers’ request was the first to use religious principles as basis for objection against the vaccine mandate. Still, similar to the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in the states of New York and Indiana, the request to nullify the vaccine mandate in Maine was rejected.
How Did the Supreme Court Justices Arrive at the Rejection Decision?
The decision was not unanimous though, as it was decided on the strength of a majority vote of 6-3 in the 9-man panel of justices. Garnering the vote of mostly conservative justices, the court ordered via a brief statement that it is not usual to put concerns over religious rights ahead of a state’s COVID-19 situation,
The three dissenting justices include Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, who asserted that the state’s vaccine mandate discriminated against the health workers’ religious objection to the COViD-19 vaccine. Two of the justices appointed by the Trump administration, namely Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett contended that the Supreme Court’s emergency docket is not the proper venue in which to uphold the integrity of the health workers’ religious claims.+++