That's Judge Scola in this Order:
[I]n light of the recent Omicron
surge of Covid-19 cases in Miami-Dade County, the Court advised counsel that
all members of the prospective jury panel must be vaccinated. Counsel for the
Plaintiff did not object to the Court’s procedures. Defense counsel, claiming
they did not want to exclude unvaccinated jurors from the trial, objected to
the Court’s use of only fully vaccinated prospective jurors.
us who participate in the justice system have a shared obligation to protect
those who enter the courthouse. This grave obligation is particularly
pronounced as to jurors and witnesses, who are present only under legal
compulsion. See 28 U.S.C. § 1866(g).
Just as the Court and the legal profession have an
obligation to protect those who enter the courthouse, all of us have an
obligation to consider the safety and well-being of our community. The vast
majority of adults in Miami-Dade County have met this obligation. Over 94% of
Miami-Dade County adult residents have been vaccinated. See Miami-Dade
County Covid-19 Daily Dashboard, dated January 17, 2022, available at
www.miamidade.gov/information/library/2022-01-17-covid-dashboard.pdf. It is the
Court’s belief that the vast majority of the unvaccinated adults are uninformed
and irrational, or—less charitably—selfish and unpatriotic. The Court believes
that these individuals have given a distorted meaning to the COVID-19 vaccine,
rather than recognize the vaccine for what it is—an effective and safe means of
minimizing transmission and illness.
uninformed and irrational or selfish and unpatriotic, no citizen is excused
from considering their obligation to the health and well-being of their
community. Else, the health, welfare, and safety of society would be
subordinated to a substantial minority. Over one-hundred years ago, the Supreme
Court upheld a State’s compulsory vaccination program and noted that nothing in
our democracy grants an “absolute right in each person to be . . .
wholly freed from restraint.” Jacobson v. Commonwealth of
Mass., 197 U.S. 11, 26 (1905). The Court held that individuals may be
called upon, and even compelled, to protect their community, whether by means
of vaccination or by conscription. Id. at 29. “[O]rganized society could
not exist” otherwise. Id. at 26.
In a way,
the jury is a microcosm of organized society. It “lies at the very heart of the
jury system” that “those eligible for jury service are to be found in every
stratum of society.” Thiel v. S. Pac. Co., 328 U.S. 217, 220 (1946). Old
and young, disabled and immunocompromised, all are called to jury service. The
Court will not abdicate its duty and obligation to ensure the protection of
these witnesses and jurors by exposing them to risks, particularly when those
risks are heightened by the Omicron variant. While the Court does not believe
that excluding unvaccinated jurors in the middle of a pandemic is legally
impermissible, it nonetheless does not want to create an appellate issue.
specially-set jury trial beginning on February 7, 2022 is cancelled.
Meantime, the Supreme Court isn't immune from these sorts of fights. Justice Gorsuch refused to wear a mask even though his Chief asked him to in order to protect his fellow Justice Sotomayor. He refused. What is going on?! From NPR:
It was pretty jarring earlier this month when the justices of the
U.S. Supreme Court took the bench for the first time since the omicron
surge over the holidays. All were now wearing masks. All, that is,
except Justice Neil Gorsuch. What's more, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was
not there at all, choosing instead to participate through a microphone
setup in her chambers.
Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that
puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from
COVID-19. She has been the only justice to wear a mask on the bench
since last fall when, amid a marked decline in COVID-19 cases, the
justices resumed in-person arguments for the first time since the onset
of the pandemic.
Now, though, the situation had changed with
the omicron surge, and according to court sources, Sotomayor did not
feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice
John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices
to mask up.
They all did. Except Gorsuch, who, as it happens,
sits next to Sotomayor on the bench. His continued refusal since then
has also meant that Sotomayor has not attended the justices' weekly
conference in person, joining instead by telephone.