We had two big SCOTUS Rulings out of New Mexico that you will be interested in with one affecting mandates and the other affecting immigration.
DENIAL OF CHALLENGE TO NEW MEXICO’S VAX MANDATE
The first Supreme Court ruling was on Tuesday. They rejected a legal challenge to block New Mexico’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, prisons, and nursing homes, as well as other settings.
The nation’s high court didn’t offer a comment (pdf) on why it denied issuing an injunction against the order. Previously, the Supreme Court denied challenges against mandates in New York state and Maine, respectively.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who previously dissented in a ruling that declined to block a New York state vaccine mandate, denied the application on Tuesday.
New Mexico’s vaccine mandate, which went into effect in August of this year, allows for religious and medical exemptions. The separate legal challenge against New York’s health care worker mandate had argued that the state acted in an unconstitutional manner by not allowing religious exemptions.
Two women, including a former nurse who was fired after she didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, argued that the statewide mandate violates their constitutional right to “bodily integrity” as well as their right to “engage in one’s chosen profession.”
Lawyers for the state of New Mexico argued (pdf) that the two plaintiffs said that they “made no effort to seek an exemption to the vaccination requirements based on those stated beliefs,” and asserted that because they “made no such effort, [the plaintiffs] have no reasonable basis to conclude that none of the exemptions would be available to them.”
The Supreme Court justices are likely going to act soon on two Biden administration vaccine mandates: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) controversial mandate that requires testing or vaccines for workers at businesses with 100 or more employees, and a separate mandate for health care workers that were issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
SCOTUS TOSSES LAWSUIT AGAINST A BORDER AGENT
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of tossing a lawsuit filed against a Texas border agent for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager.
Information from Fox News:
A divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Border Patrol agent who faced a lawsuit from parents of a Mexican child he killed in a June 2010 cross-border shooting.
Jesus Mesa Jr. and the parents of 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca gave different accounts of what happened, with the parents claiming the teen and his friends were playing a game where they ran back and forth across the border, and Mesa claiming they threw rocks at him during an illegal border-crossing attempt.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling said that regardless of the circumstances, precedent regarding lawsuits against officers, known as “Bivens claims,” does not apply to cross-border shootings.
“As we have made clear in many prior cases,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, “the Constitution’s separation of powers requires us to exercise caution before extending Bivens to a new ‘context,’ and a claim based on a cross-border shooting arises in a context that is markedly new.”
In the 1971 opinion Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, Alito detailed several reasons why it was inappropriate in this case:
The first factor was the impact a lawsuit in such a case could have on foreign relations.
Alito then noted concerns with the court getting involved with matters of national security.
“Since regulating the conduct of agents at the border unquestionably has national security implications, the risk of undermining border security provides reason to hesitate before extending Bivens into this field,” he said.
The majority on the court who ruled in favor of the border patrol agent also cited Congress’ history of not awarding damages in cases against federal officials where the injuries took place outside the U.S.
It was always a bad case and a terrible precedent to set.