The Supreme Court released an unsigned order saying it would decline to take up the case.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 13 declined to take up a lawsuit filed by four New Jersey nurses to challenge a now-scrapped state COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The justices will not examine a U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision that dismissed the nurses’ challenge as moot. In the Supreme Court’s list of orders released on Nov. 13, the court rejected an appeal in the case, Katie Sczesny, et al. v. Murphy, Gov. of New Jersey, et al. No comment from the justices was provided.
In early 2022, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order that “unvaccinated covered workers must obtain their first dose of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccination by January 27, 2022,” adding that those workers have to give “adequate proof” they’ve received all their shots by Feb. 28 of that year. Those who do not provide sufficient proof “must be considered noncompliant.”
In an appeal to the high court, the nurses argued that the vaccine mandate violated their rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which they argued encompasses their right to refuse to get a medical procedure and their right to privacy. They also said the rule violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
The nurses—Debra Hagen, Jamie Rumfield, Katie Sczesny, and Mariette Vitti—filed a lawsuit against the governor’s office and said that although the order allowed for religious or medical exemptions, the state “mass-denied religious exemptions in state institutions, stating that accommodating people with religious exemptions would constitute an ‘undue burden’ on the state because the employees with religious objections to the COVID-19 injections are a ‘threat’ to the safety of others.”
The booster mandate, they also argued, “violates the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions, which prohibits the government from conditioning a privilege on the surrender of a constitutional right.”
Last year, a U.S. district judge ruled against the nurses, saying they “[failed] to demonstrate likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Executive Orders violate their liberty rights under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” and also failed “to demonstrate immediate and irreparable injury.”