Maine Health Care Workers Seek Emergency Relief from SCOTUS

Oct 18, 2021

Liberty Counsel filed an emergency injunction pending appeal (IPA) to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of more than 2,000 health care workers against Governor Janet Mills, health officials of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and five of Maine’s largest hospital systems.  The IPA went to Justice Stephen Breyer for review. 

Gov. Janet Mills’ “COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate” purports to override both Title VII employment law and the First Amendment Free Exercise clause. Her discriminatory order mandates the shots and states health care workers cannot raise religious exemptions claims. This edict would force numerous doctors, nurses, medical professionals and other health care workers to choose between the exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs and their employment. 

However, Maine is required to abide by federal law to provide protections to employees who have sincerely held religious objections to the COVID-19 shots. In fact, there can be no dispute that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits the governor and health officials from discriminating against health care workers on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs. 

Gov. Mills has threatened to revoke the licenses of all health care employers who fail to mandate that all employees receive the COVID-19 injection, despite the unconstitutional fact that she is discriminating against religious employees who decline vaccination while favoring those who decline for secular, medical reasons. The governor originally stated health care workers must receive a COVID-19 injection by October 1 and then extended the deadline for compliance to October 29. However, this required that plaintiffs had to accept the first injection that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs by no later than Friday, October 15, 2021.

Liberty Counsel is asking the High Court to rule that: 1) Governor Mills will not enforce her unconstitutional mandate so that plaintiff John Doe 1 must force his employees to receive a COVID-19 injection and not provide a religious exemption or accommodation for his employees in violation of his and their sincerely held religious beliefs; 2) Defendants will immediately cease in their refusal to consider, review, and grant plaintiffs’ requests for religious exemption and accommodation from the governor’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate,” provided that plaintiffs agree to abide by reasonable accommodation provisions such as masking, testing, symptom monitoring and reporting;  and 3) Defendants will immediately cease threatening to discharge and terminate plaintiffs from their employment for failure to accept a COVID-19 “vaccine” that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and give immediate relief to these health care heroes against Governor Janet Mills’ illegal edict. The governor cannot override federal law and force health care workers to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by forcing them to inject an experimental substance. All Maine health care workers have the legal right to request reasonable accommodation for their sincerely held religious beliefs and forcing COVID shots without exemptions is unlawful.” 

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