A judge on Thursday rejected a request by 33 Oregon State Police troopers asking him to temporarily stop a mandate from taking effect that requires them to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18.
Retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jack Landau said in a written opinion that based on case law “the police power of the state includes the authority to enact public health laws that may have the effect of curtailing individual rights.” Landau went on to say that Gov. Kate Brown is acting within her legislatively granted authority in issuing the vaccine mandate.
“The governor and the State of Oregon have an unquestioned interest in protecting the health and wellbeing of the state’s employees,” wrote Landau, who is presiding over the troopers’ lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court. “Likewise, they have undeniable interest in protecting the public from the dangers posed by the COVID-19 virus.”
Brown has mandated vaccinations not only for the state’s executive branch employees, including the troopers, but also for hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers and K-12 educators and volunteers. Her orders allow for individuals to seek religious or medical exemptions. At least eight lawsuits have been filed. Thursday’s ruling is the second denying plaintiffs a request to temporarily halt the mandates.
On Tuesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that arguments made by a group of 25 healthcare workers, firefighters and paramedics who are opposed to vaccination have “little-to-no likelihood of success” if hashed out in further court proceedings.
Thursday, Dan Thenell, an attorney representing dozens of troopers and healthcare workers who’ve filed suits affected by the rulings, said in an email “each of the plaintiffs are assessing their options for moving forward.”
— Aimee Green; firstname.lastname@example.org; @o_aimee