Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday rejected a petition from students to block an Indiana University Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which the students argued violated their 14th Amendment rights and state law.
Barrett, formerly the circuit justice for the 7th Circuit, acted by herself to deny the motion for emergency relief from eight students challenging the school’s mandate.
“Indiana University is one of many institutions that have mandated vaccines as students head back into classrooms amid the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The students who filed the lawsuit argued that the vaccine mandate violated the 14th Amendment and state law,” Politico reported. The school reportedly allows religious and medical exemptions, according to NBC News, and students’ other options include “taking the semester off, viewing classes online or attending other universities.”
A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals last week also declined to block the vaccine mandate. A federal judge, too, said the mandate should be allowed, citing the “balance of harms and the public interest favor Indiana University.”
Vaccine mandates have become increasingly prominent. Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a memorandum informing all Department of Defense employees of an upcoming Covid-19 vaccine mandate.
“Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next month under a plan laid out by the Pentagon Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden,” the Associated Press reported, adding, “Austin said the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.”
“I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion,” Austin said. “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine “by the start of next month,” according to a New York Times report. Covid-19 vaccines are currently approved for emergency use authorization.
“If service members refuse to get the vaccine after it is mandated, the choice ‘could constitute failure to obey an order and may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,’ the AP reported,” The Daily Wire noted. “However, they may seek an exemption for reasons such as medical issues or religious beliefs.”
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he leans “strongly” toward mandating the vaccine for all American teachers just as schools prepare to open for the 2021-2022 school year, The Daily Wire reported:
Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who served on former President Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force and is now President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, says it comes down to a simple sense of “obligation.”
The doctor says all those who are responsible for the safety and health of others should be vaccinated, “be that the development of a child in a school or in my position as a physician who still sees patients,” Fauci, the White House medical advisor, said in an interview with USA Today published on Sunday.
“Therefore, I absolutely lean strongly toward when people are in those positions, if they don’t want to get vaccinated, I would mandate that they get vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Already, nearly 90% of teachers and school staff have been vaccinated, according to the White House. But with the Delta variant now moving across the U.S., younger people have been getting the virus, according to NBC News.
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