Supreme Court Rejects NYC Teachers’ Religious Exemption Appeal Over Vaccine Mandate


The Supreme Court on Friday shot down an appeal from a group of New York City school teachers who sought to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, arguing it violated their religious freedom.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected the emergency appeal on Friday, the same day as the deadline for city employees to comply with the mandate or face losing their jobs.

Sotomayor did not offer an explanation, which is the court’s usual procedure.

The appeal was filed Tuesday by 15 Department of Education workers, who claimed the city was violating their religious freedoms by not accepting their exemption claims.

The city requires that religious exemption requests must be backed up by religious leaders. For example, the teachers said the city would not accept an exemption from Catholics because Pope Francis had urged his flock to get their shots.

The appeal came after numerous objections to former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccination mandate for teachers had been struck down. The city did bow to the teacher’s union to allow exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Mayor Eric Adams said this week he would go ahead with terminating nearly 4,000 of the city’s roughly 400,000 municipal employees who had not been inoculated against the coronavirus.