Photo of Stephen McConnell

Our doctor advised it would not be a good idea for us to get Covid-19. We already wheeze after ascending the stairs or rolling the garbage bin to the curb or opening the mail, so any further respiratory burden seems like a bad idea. Thus, even though some have declared the pandemic over, we remain cautious.  Good luck inviting us to any public place.  Pascal may have said that all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone, but he wasn’t talking about us. We’re quite happy to avoid the madding and infectious crowds by sitting home with a good book or mediocre tv show, or by planting a nose against the kitchen window, watching the red shouldered hawk wait for dinner to show up at the pond. You might even say that we live deliberately. 

Our doctor also advised us to get every Covid booster vaccination as soon as possible, and we have done so.  Some of our Twitter acquaintances and frenemies have told us that the boosters will kill us or will permit Melinda Gates to spy on our every movement.  Those threats do not bother us.  If anyone is going to go through all the trouble to plant a chip in our arm, they’re probably not looking to bump us off any time soon.  And, as mentioned above, we don’t actually engage in a lot of movement, so fair play to anyone who chooses to spy on us.  We’ll be a stationary dot on the screen, reading The New Yorker or glaring outside at the geese.  

So, yes, we are unabashedly pro-vax.  Bring on the hate emails.  We’ll toss the virtual missives into the virtual fireplace.   And we’ll wish you good luck.  

But we do not wish good luck to litigants challenging vaccine mandates. When governments or employers insist that public-facing employees must be vaccinated in order to perform their jobs, we are relieved and  grateful. If employees decide to give up their jobs rather than be vaccinated against Covid, we shake our heads at their tenacity and grieve for their health, but so be it.  We might call it a remarkable sacrifice, or a stupid sacrifice. Or a remarkably stupid sacrifice. And yet, in truth, some employees do not want to sacrifice anything.  They want to remain unvaxxed “truebloods,” inflicting their viral silliness on the rest of us.  Luckily, pretty much every time the antivaxxers sue to get their way, they lose.  Continue Reading Court Upholds Washington State Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates

Photo of Stephen McConnell

On Monday, Bexis blogged about a very bad vaccination decision — bad in its reasoning and bad in its maleficent effect on vaccine policy in this country.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve written quite a few posts on vaccination cases. The law in this area has gotten a vigorous workout largely because of Covid-19, of course.  That particular vaccine became a subject of massive political debate for reasons that seem entirely stupid to us. 

Why stupid?  Let us count the ways.  First, the biggest vaccine haters are often supporters of the former President, whose administration did a lot to hasten development of the Covid vaccine.  Second, the distrust of the Covid vaccine is largely premised on ignorance and conspiracy mongering.  Third, the claims that Covid vaccine mandates undermine the Bill of Rights not only ignore logic, they ignore clear precedents involving other vaccines. 

Indeed, we think that observing the treatment of other vaccines, free of the fog of political warfare, might help clarify thinking on vaccine mandates.  Perhaps people can at least doff their tin foil hats temporarily.  

In Goe v. Zucker, 43 F.4th 19 (2d Cir. 2022), the Second Circuit reviewed a proposed class action challenging the scope of medical exemptions to New York’s mandatory school immunization requirements.  Prior to June 2019, New York allowed exemptions from the immunization requirements for both nonmedical and medical reasons. But after a big measles outbreak, New York repealed the nonmedical exemption (as we said in our vaccine post last week: yay) and clarified the medical exemption.  The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit, contending that the new vaccine regulations violated their fourteenth amendment due process rights, as well as section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 USC section 794.  The district court dismissed the complaint and the plaintiffs appealed to the Second Circuit.  Continue Reading Second Circuit Upholds New York Measles Vaccine Mandate

Photo of Stephen McConnell

When we let it be known we were going to ACI in New York City this week, several friends expressed concern that we might finally lose the virus lottery and contract Covid-19. There does, indeed, seem to be a recent uptick in Covid cases.  But we are vaccinated and boostered, plus no one gets that close to us anyway.  We are big on what Nietzsche called the pathos of distance.  We are even bigger on following the medical consensus and submitting to the latest jabs.  

We don’t understand the skepticism or even outright antipathy toward vaccinations, no matter which ones. They are a blessing, not an incursion on our rights.  If you want to see an actual incursion on civil rights, look halfway around the world and watch what a truly authoritarian country does to its population in the face of a pandemic.  Severe Covid lockdowns happen in such a place because the country lacks an effective vaccine.  Put another way, vaccines are liberating.  

Still, on the home front, there is plenty of bellyaching about vaccine mandates.  Our Twitter feed lately has been besieged with complaints about how soldiers have left the military as a result of vaccine mandates. But those numbers are quite small, soldiers are supposed to take orders, they are forced to endure a whole host of other vaccinations, and there is ample precedent for military vaccination requirements.  Or have you never heard of George Washington and his efforts to prevent smallpox among his troops?Continue Reading No Unemployment Comp Benefits for Worker Discharged for Vaccine Refusal

Photo of Stephen McConnell

We listen to the This American Life show on National Public Radio most weeks, and it often reveals interesting things about, uh, this American life.   On Saturday, as we drove around the Main Line doing chores, we listened to a This American Life program that illustrated the Tolstoyan ditty about how unhappy families are each

Photo of Steven Boranian

The world order has been restored.  The clouds have parted, and all today is in perfect resonant harmony.  Ok, we are exaggerating.  A lot.  But we are pleased to report that at least one federal district court has correctly interpreted and applied the PREP Act.  We are sure you are as relieved as we are. 

Photo of Stephen McConnell

In Hayes v. University Health Shreveport, LLC, 2022 WL 71607 (La. Jan. 7, 2022), the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that a hospital – or any other private employer – may impose an absolute vaccination requirement and fire any employee who fails to comply. The case involved medical centers that notified all employees that they

Photo of Stephen McConnell

Maybe we’ll keep writing about Covid-19 cases as long as there is Covid-19. That’s a depressing thought. It is depressing because Covid-19 continues to harm so many lives, both in terms of destruction and diminution. It is also depressing because so many legal challenges to Covid-19 regulations are frivolous. You might even say those challenges

Photo of Rachel B. Weil

We take a break from assembling Halloween costumes for the Drug and Device Law Little Rescue dogs – a UPS worker, complete with cardboard parcel, and Batwoman – for another great decision involving a plaintiff’s opposition to a vaccine mandate.  A number of recent blogposts have reported unsuccessful efforts by anti-vaxxers to enlist judicial support

Photo of Stephen McConnell

California is called the land of fruits and nuts, but the Harry and David Company – esteemed purveyor of fruits, nuts, and other delicacies – calls Oregon its home. Oregon gave us Tonya Harding and Ndamukong Suh. Oregon is also the only state besides New Jersey that forbids motorists from pumping their own gas.

We