(breitbart) – New York City employees fired for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine must be reinstated immediately and given back pay because the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional, a New York state judge ruled on Tuesday.
The Big Apple mandated in 2021 that all city employees must receive a COVID-19 vaccine, rejecting requests for religious exemptions, such as from pro-life employees who objected to the vaccine because stem cell lines from aborted children were used in the vaccines’ development.
New York City fired all of those employees, including firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who had served fearlessly during the worst stages of the pandemic. Many of these employees formerly hailed as heroes had also contracted the disease and recovered, and cited their natural immunity antibodies as another reason to allow them not to be vaccinated.
Justice Ralph Porzio of the New York Supreme Court in Staten Island held that these terminations are illegal. (The name is misleading, because in New York’s court system, the lowest level of general jurisdiction courts is called the supreme court. It is simply the county court that conducts trials.) Specifically, Porzio held that the mandate is unconstitutional — for several reasons.
Porzio wrote that “we shouldn’t be penalizing the people who showed up to work, at great risk to themselves and their families, while we were locked down.”
According to the 13-page decision, New York City Health Commissioner David Chokshi’s vaccine mandate “violates the separation of powers doctrine” in the New York Constitution, and well as violating city workers’ “substantive and procedural due process rights.” The commissioner had no “power and authority to permanently exclude [those employees] from their workplace.”
“If it was about safety and public health, the Health Commissioner would have issued city-wide mandates for all residents,” Porzio added.
“The vaccine mandate for City employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance,” the judge concluded.
The case is Garvey v. City of New York, No. 85163/2022 in the Supreme Court for Richmond County, New York.
Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department.