In a stunning blow to the state’s vast overreach during the pandemic, New York Supreme Court Justice Gerald Neri on Friday blocked the COVID vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
The ruling asserted that Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York health officials improperly bypassed the legislature. The mandate went beyond approved measures in the state’s public health law and overstepped its authority, according to Neri.
A #NewYork state Supreme Court judge in Syracuse struck down a statewide COVID-19 #VaccineMandate for medical staff, ruling that Gov. @KathyHochul and the state’s health department overstepped their authority. https://t.co/QYu8BwOsbS
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) January 14, 2023
Determining that the mandate exceeded the state’s power, the justice declared the measure to be “null, void, and of no effect.” He further prohibited Hochul and New York health officials from “implementing or enforcing the mandate.”
Neri found that the COVID-19 vaccine was not addressed in state law, and the governor may not mandate “any vaccine outside of those specifically authorized by the legislature.
Hochul and the state health department converted the mandate originally meant to limit COVID transmission into a permanent measure.
Since the state implemented sweeping regulations to require jabs for nearly every public employee, there has been a rash of legal entanglements and lawsuits. Mandates targeting teachers, police officers, and other workers have been overturned on judges’ orders.
An organization of medical professionals who had either lost or were in danger of losing their jobs, Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, sued the state to block the mandate.
New York’s public health law clearly lists vaccines that may be required, including mumps, measles, and hepatitis. There is no mention of the hastily prepared COVID-19 vaccines.
Neri even referenced George Orwell in his ruling.
Noting the mandate was titled “Prevention of COVID-19 transmission by covered entities,” he asserted that in “true Orwellian fashion,” New York officials recognized “then-current COVID-19 shots did not prevent transmission.”
In other words, proponents of the mandate argued it prevented transmission of the coronavirus while admitting that it did not.
The federal government and many states overreached during the pandemic, but few did it with the vigor and enthusiasm of New York. The justice’s ruling struck another blow to the state’s assumption of powers it does not have and will hopefully prevent further misdeeds in the future.