Federal Court Blocks State Vaccine Mandate That Was Actually Opposed by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom

Written by Kyle Becker
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California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has suffered a legal defeat in federal courts as the vaccine mandate for state prison workers has been halted.

“A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for a stay of September’s lower court order pending an appeal,” the AP reported. “It also sped up the hearing process by setting a Dec. 13 deadline for opening briefs.”

“The vaccination mandate was supposed to have taken effect by Jan. 12,” the AP notes, “but the appellate court stay blocks enforcement until sometime in March, when the appeal hearing will be scheduled.”

“The judge who issued the vaccination mandate followed the recommendation of a court-appointed receiver who was chosen to manage the state prison health care system after a federal judge in 2005 found that California failed to provide adequate medical care to prisoners,” the report added.

“The mandate was opposed by the state’s prison agency and Gov. Gavin Newsom, even though his administration previously had ordered vaccinations or testing for all state employees, including correctional employees,” the AP noted.

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The ramifications of the court case on other state workers in California who oppose the vaccine mandates will bear watching. It is also interesting why Governor Gavin Newsom claims to oppose the state vaccine mandate for prison workers.

“Since early in this pandemic, CDCR has implemented rigorous COVID safety measures, including mandatory masking, twice weekly testing for staff and the early rollout of vaccines for incarcerated people and staff,” Newsom’s spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times earlier in November.

“Newsom had sided with the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which argued that the mandate could lead to shortages in prison workers and create a ‘crisis’ in the state prison system, according to the Los Angeles Times,” the Insider noted.

This is an intriguing development: A Democratic governor who appears to want to solve a crisis, rather than create one. There is no reason to believe that Newsom has had a change of heart on vaccine mandates, so the disapproval ratings for Democrats, even in deep blue California, must surely be getting worse by the moment.

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.