Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order Against New York Governor Over Vaccine Mandates

The United States District Attorney on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order against New York Governor Kathy Hochul on behalf of 17 health workers claiming the state has violated their Constitutional rights by mandating to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Dr. A, et al. v. Kathy Hochul, health professionals, including doctors and nurses, are suing the state of New York for violating their Title VII and Constitutional rights with the Covid-19 vaccination mandate while disallowing religious exemptions.

By order of Judge David Hurd, the state now has until September 22, 2021 to respond.

"For months our clients worked as heroes on the front lines of stopping COVID-19 at great personal and professional risk, only to be nearly kicked to the curb by a flagrantly illegal mandate from constitutionally clueless government bureaucrats," attorney Christopher Ferrara, special counsel for the Thomas More Society told Newsweek. "New York's Vaccine Mandate explicitly stripped away health care workers' clear federal law rights to seek religious exemptions from taking a vaccine they cannot in good conscience accept because of its developmental ties to aborted fetal cell lines."

It was on August 16, 2021, that then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all healthcare workers in New York state, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, adult care facilities, and other congregate care settings, were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. New York has made compulsory COVID vaccinations a requirement for continued employment of those in health-related jobs.

A lawsuit filed Monday by the plaintiffs sought the temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, and then a permanent and final injunction against the vaccine mandate's prohibition of accommodations of "sincere religious beliefs."

Kathy Hochul and Bill de Blasio
Seventeen health care workers are claiming that New York Governor Kathy Hochul has violated their constitutional rights by mandating they get a COVID-19 vaccine. Above, Hochul speaks with to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio outside the FDNY Memorial Service at St. Patrick's Cathedral on September 11, 2021, in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty

The health care employees argued that the vaccine mandate would invalidate protections for sincere religious beliefs under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, although the prior state health order in effect just days earlier had afforded the same protections.

Specifically, their religious beliefs call for them to "refuse vaccination with the available COVID-19 vaccines, all of which employ aborted fetus cell lines in their testing, development, or production," according to filed documents.

"What New York is attempting to do is slam shut an escape hatch from an unconstitutional vaccine mandate," Ferrara said in a statement prior to the injunction being granted.

Ferrara, who stressed that the plaintiffs "are not anti-vaxxers," is representing them in the federal case against the state, along with Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen, Senior Counsel Stephen Crampton, and Counsel Michael McHale.

McHale explained that in addition to violating the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution by purporting to strip away Title VII protections, the vaccine mandate also violates the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution by subjecting those who have conscientious religious objections to the vaccine to termination from employment and irreparable damage to their professional standing. That's while it exempts others from the mandate for more favored secular reasons.

The plaintiffs, who are filing the complaint under pseudonyms because of what Ferrara calls, "the fear and loathing of the unvaccinated and the hysteria that surrounds vaccine mania," are now facing termination from employment, loss of hospital admitting privileges, and the destruction of their careers.

"Without court intervention," added Ferrara in a statement. "These health professionals face loss of occupation, professional status, and employability anywhere in the state of New York. All because of an abortion-connected vaccine, one that they cannot take in good conscience."

Newsweek reached out to Governor Hochul's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Update (9/14/2021, 8:20 p.m.): This article has been updated to include comment from Christopher Ferrara.