February 16, 2022

On February 15, 2022, Mark Rienzi, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty and Professor of Law at Catholic Law, and President of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, was quoted in an article by Catholic News Agency. His comments were in reference to a petition made by healthcare workers in New York for the Supreme Court to block the state’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for healthcare employees, and allow religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate. The Supreme Court previously declined to issue an emergency injunction in the case and on February 14, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Thomas More Society filed another petition for certiorari in the case at the Supreme Court.

Additionally, on February 16, Rienzi wrote an op-ed for National Review on the same topic. In the piece, Rienzi delves into the case Dr. A v. Hochul and the 16 healthcare workers petitioning the Supreme Court to hear their First Amendment challenge to New York’s vaccine mandate.

Catholic News Agency
Date: February 15, 2022
By: Christine Rousselle
Medical workers ask Supreme Court to block NY vaccine mandate lacking religious exemption

“The Biden Administration and 47 states know that they need to protect religious liberty for healthcare workers,” Mark Rienzi, president of Becket and a professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, told CNA Feb. 15.

“But New York is forcing hospitals to fire nurses who were frontline healthcare heroes in the earliest days of the pandemic — many of whom have already had COVID — just because of their religious objectives to the vaccines,” he said.

Rienzi told CNA that New York is engaging in “vindictive behavior” by revoking the unemployment benefits of these fired healthcare workers, something he says is “harmful to healthcare workers and to patients, and it violates the Constitution.”

“The Supreme Court should protect these workers and our healthcare system,” he said.

For Rienzi’s full comments in Catholic News Agency, click here.

National Review
Date: February 16, 2022
By: Mark Rienzi
Supreme Court Vaccine Mandate Redux


That may change soon. Yesterday, in a case called Dr. A v. Hochul, 16 of those workers asked the Supreme Court to hear their First Amendment challenge to New York’s mandate. Represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Thomas More Society, the health-care workers asked the Court not only to invalidate New York’s mandate but also to overrule the 1990 case of Employment Division v. Smith.

New York’s mandate is an extreme outlier — the Biden administration’s rules, along with the rules in 47 other states, allow religious health-care workers to keep their jobs even if they remain unvaccinated. New York originally allowed religious exemptions, but then took them away. Worse, New York allows thousands of other unvaccinated health-care workers to keep their jobs — just not the religious objectors. Bizarrely, New York even allows vaccinated workers with active and symptomatic Covid infections to work in hospitals, but not healthy religious objectors who don’t have Covid.


To read the full op-ed, click here.