A Washington D.C. judge struck down DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s vaccination mandate for city government workers.
Opposition to the mandate came from the D.C. police union – in February they filed a lawsuit against the mandate.
A D.C. Superior Court judge on Thursday said the vaccination mandate Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) imposed on city government workers earlier this year was unlawful in response to opposition from the D.C. police union.
The order from Judge Maurice A. Ross comes in response to a lawsuit filed in February by the D.C. Police Union and other police groups that opposed the mandate, which was first imposed by Bowser last year. The August 2021 mayor’s order instructed D.C. government employees to submit proof that they had received the coronavirus vaccination, although workers could also apply for religious or medical exemptions or opt for weekly testing instead.
In November 2021, however, Bowser issued another mayor’s order that empowered the D.C. city administrator to remove the test-out option. In January, city officials said D.C. government employees who did not apply for a religious or medical exemption were required to get vaccinated by Feb. 15, including a booster shot, with enforcement set to begin the following month. The city implemented a tiered discipline system for those without exemptions, which could result in suspension or being fired.
The D.C. Police Union celebrated the decision saying “now, all of our members can go back to doing the necessary work of trying to protect our communities from crime and violence without unlawful threats of discipline and termination.”
DC Mayor Muriel Bower’s office responded by saying they disagree with the court’s order but they will comply with it.
“We are reviewing the Court’s ruling, and believe that the judge misunderstood the strength and diversity of the authorities we relied upon in issuing the employee vaccination mandate. Over the past year and a half, we have seen that COVID-19 vaccines work – they keep people out of the hospitals and save lives. We are grateful for all residents and employees who stepped up and get vaccinated, whether they did so with no reservations or whether they did so nervously but because they knew it was the right thing to do. Because of our collective effort, countless lives have been saved. Going forward, we will comply with the Court’s orders as we continue encouraging our community to access life-saving vaccines.”