Judge Ralph J. Porzio ruled on October 24th that New York’s vaccine mandate for city employees was unconstitutional based on the Separation of Powers principle. Separation of Powers means that the executive branch (Governor and the agencies underneath) cannot pass new laws or regulations that are essentially new laws under the guise of regulations. That power is reserved strictly for the legislative branch.
The judge specifically noted that there was no reason to treat some groups differently than others (public employees vs. private or exempting celebrities and athletes) and stated that this essentially made the vaccine policy “arbitrary and capricious.” It was also refreshing to read the judge’s sentiments that the policy was less about public safety than about compliance!
Even though NYC tried to make the argument that the plaintiffs had passed the statute of limitations, the judge pointed out that workers had received a letter inviting them to come back to work so long as they had received the injection. The court said this letter re-set the statute of limitation “clock.”
Even though we recognize the city is appealing, this decision by Judge Porzio is still momentous in that it marks a shift in the narrative in the right direction and should put other states and public employers on notice. Read the Decision Here.