New York City Democrats Admit They’re Challenging A Century-Old Supreme Court Case On Vaccines

( New York City is taking an unprecedented step when it will mandate that all people who want to go into indoor entertainment venues, gyms and restaurants will all have to be vaccinated.

Universities and many businesses are requiring vaccines, but that is backed by previous legal precedent. New York City’s move, on the other hand, will probably be challenged in court.

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, recently announced that his plan will go into effect as of August 16. The city won’t start enforcing the rule until September 13, though.

Many legal experts said to Yahoo Finance that the city’s rule will test a 1905 Supreme Court case authority. That case gave states broad rights to uphold compulsory laws regarding vaccination, but limited it at the same time.

Jim Oleske, who serves as a professor at the Lewis & Clark Law School, explained:

“We should all keep in mind that the court’s jurisprudence is still unsettled. I think that no matter what [New York City’s] final rule looks like … it’s going to get challenged.”

When the rule is enforced, it will be up to the health department in the city to police it, rather than the police department itself.

When he announced the vaccination requirement, de Blasio said:

“This is going to be a requirement. The only way to patronize these establishments indoors will be if you’re vaccinated — at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work — they’ll need at least one dose.”

Many legal experts told Yahoo Finance that there is actually a strong legal foundation for local and state governments to enforce policies regarding vaccination on a local level. Still, it’s not an iron-clad rule that can’t be challenged.

It’s expected that the challenges will come, and they’ll all point to the 1905 decision in the Supreme Court case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. In that case, the Supreme Court said states could require people to get a vaccine against smallpox, using their police power.

But, as Oleske commented:

“Jacobson is an old case, and how much force it will have, I think it depends.”

The big issue at hand is whether these local governments would have to provide exceptions to the vaccination mandates. This could be for constitutional rights such as freedom to practice religion, or one under Due Process that allows people to “remain free from bodily interference.”

Another law professor, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss from the University of California Hastings College of Law, said it’s also possible that arguments over the American with Disabilities Act could arise. She said the ADA may override New York City’s vaccination requirement for any places that are open to the public.

She explained:

“Those who cannot be vaccinated should not be punished for it. I would be surprised if [New York City’s] law did not include an exception.”