Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees and NYPD officers was smacked down by a state judge on the same day that a federal court blocked President Joe Biden’s mandate.
According to DailyMail.com, Judge Frank P. Nervo, who is presiding over the Supreme Court of New York, issued a ruling Tuesday that he had blocked the de Blasio mandate for the time being ahead of a Dec. 14 hearing.
Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia, a Trump appointee, also ruled that Biden’s federal contractor mandate, which required employees working for those firms to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18, was not lawful.
In his ruling, Baker said he determined that Congress didn’t clearly provide the president with the authority to impose a vaccine mandate on federal contractors that wold have “vast economic and political significance.”
It was the latest in a growing number of rulings striking down Biden’s mandate after he announced them for federal workers, contractors, and private firms with 100 or more employees back in September.
On Oct. 20, de Blasio ordered all city workers to have their first vaccine by Oct. 29 or risk being suspended from their jobs without pay. At the time, 71 percent of the city’s 160,500 employees were already vaccinated.
He said on Nov. 1 that his mandate had achieved the desired effect: City worker vaccination rates had climbed to 91 percent.
“Time and time again we put the mandates in place and they’ve worked,” he said.
However, the de Blasio administration went on to determine that around 9,000 city workers had not gotten vaccinated, leading to their suspension. The absences led to frustration across city departments but especially the NYPD over supervisors’ fears that a shortage of cops would only worsen the city’s already well-established crime spikes.
DailyMail.com noted that it’s not clear how many city workers have since gotten a vaccine and have returned to work or how many unvaccinated workers can now get back on the job following Nervo’s ruling.
On Monday, de Blasio, who leaves office Jan. 1 when Mayor-elect Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, takes over, issued a vaccine mandate on Monday for all privately-owned companies in New York City, though it’s not clear how he plans to enforce it, whether Adams will do so, or even if the mandate will stand up to legal scrutiny.
One group not included in de Blasio’s Oct. 20 is uniformed correctional officers after their union strongly objected. As of now, only 46 percent of them are vaccinated, according to reports, but they had a Dec. 1 deadline to get the jab.
Also Tuesday, another federal court blocked Biden’s order for private businesses, putting all three of Biden’s broad mandates on ice for the time being pending further litigation.
“Abuse of power by the Biden administration has been stopped cold again,” said South Carolina GOP Attorney General Alan Wilson.
OSHA, the federal agency charged with enforcement of the private-sector mandate, suspended its rule in mid-November after it was blocked by a federal court.
“While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation,” the agency noted on its website.
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