Federal judge denies injunction for NM public health order

A federal judge ruled earlier this week that two women who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not adequately show how a state emergency public health order requiring vaccines for certain activities violated their rights.  U.S District Court Judge Martha Vásquez denied a motion filed by the two women, which asked the […]

Federal judge denies injunction for NM public health order

A federal judge ruled earlier this week that two women who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not adequately show how a state emergency public health order requiring vaccines for certain activities violated their rights. 

U.S District Court Judge Martha Vásquez denied a motion filed by the two women, which asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop one of the state’s public health orders that require New Mexico State Fair attendees and public health workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.  

Vásquez wrote that the two plaintiffs failed to show how they would face irreparable harm if the court did not issue an injunction. 

“To obtain preliminary injunctive relief, Plaintiffs are required to prove that they are substantially likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, that they will suffer irreparable injury if the Court denies the requested injunction, that the balance of harms weighs in their favor, and that the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest,” Vásquez wrote. “Plaintiffs fail to satisfy their burden as to any, let alone all, of these factors.”

One plaintiff works as a nurse for Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque and the other is a mother of children who were set to show livestock at the New Mexico State Fair. Both women claimed that the public health order violated their state and federal constitutional rights. Both women also maintained that they should not be forced to get a COVID-19 vaccine that is approved under an emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Shortly after the suit was filed, the FDA fully authorized the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19. 

“Accordingly, the provisions of the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] quoted by Plaintiff, which are applicable only to medical products under an [Emergency Use Authorization], are not applicable to the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to individuals 16 years of age and older,” Vásquez wrote. “Further, while the statutory provisions quoted by Plaintiffs apply to the Moderna vaccine, the J&J vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine as administered to individuals under the age of 16, those provisions nowhere prevent the state, or any other entity, from requiring certain individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Further, Vásquez wrote that the plaintiffs did not adequately show how employment at a private hospital or attendance at a state fair are fundamental rights. 

“Plaintiffs do not explain how the rights allegedly violated by the [public health order] are fundamental; indeed nowhere, do they address how the right to work in a hospital or attend the State Fair, unvaccinated and during a pandemic, is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,’” Vásquez wrote. 

This is one of many suits filed against the governor, by the plaintiffs’ attorney Blair Dunn. regarding emergency public health orders. So far, no state or federal court has ruled against Lujan Grisham’s public health orders. 

Dunn has already filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

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