Wise v. Governor Jay Inslee
Wise v. Governor Jay Inslee (U.S. District Court, E.D. Wash., Oct. 25, 2021): Plaintiffs, employees of “multiple state agencies, a local government entity, and a healthcare provider,” sought to block Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation that all “educators, healthcare workers, and state employees and contractors” receive the COVID-19 vaccine, subject to several exemptions, or else face preclusion from the workplace. Plaintiffs claimed the proclamation violates state and federal laws, including religious freedom protections. The Washington federal district court declined to block the proclamation, finding plaintiffs had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on their religious freedom claims because the mandate was neutral and generally applicable, and supported by “overwhelming evidence.” The plaintiffs’ other arguments also failed. Furthermore, the mandate would not cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, and public interest strongly favored the state’s position because of the proclamation’s public health purpose. Read the full decision here.