A federal judge for Washington D.C.’s District Court has halted any termination or disciplinary actions towards civilians or military personnel who object to the COVID vaccine mandate. The order, while not officially an injunction, comes after several lawsuits have been filed against the Biden administration and Department of Defense for requiring the COVID vaccine.
“None of the civilian employee plaintiffs will be subject to discipline while his or her request for a religious exception is pending,” District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton-appointee, ordered.
The request for the emergency relief, filed by Steven and Leslie Church et al., read,
“Plaintiffs are federal employees of the United States government and active-duty military members with sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit them from complying with the vaccine mandate imposed by President Biden by signing Executive Order 14043 on September 9, 2021 (“E.O. 14043”) or Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III’s Order issued on August 24, 2021. (“DoD Order”) (collectively, “Vaccine Mandates”). Absent the relief requested, Plaintiffs, along with hundreds of thousands of other federal employees and active-duty service members will be terminated, discharged or separated on or before November 22, 2021.”
The plaintiffs quoted the Supreme Court’s opinion from one of 2020’s COVID restriction cases, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo,
“While reasonable minds can disagree as to the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court reminds us that ‘even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.'”
“These mandates are profoundly un-American. Yes, COVID poses a health threat. But America was founded on the principle of liberty, not safety. As Founding Father Benjamin Franklin has famously said, ‘Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.'”
Political commentator Jenna Ellis described the order as an “amazing development from the DC District Court in the stand for our rights against the unconstitutional vaccine mandates.”
A separate lawsuit is being filed by Liberty Counsel. The firm’s chief legal counsel, Harry Mihet, stated,
“No American, least of all members of our military who have signed up literally to put their lives on the line for our freedom, should be forced to choose between their livelihood and their conscience or between their freedom and their religious beliefs. And yet that is exactly the choice that many Americans are being put to make today and now most recently members of our military.”
“I hope that one of those five services chiefs finally finds some courage and stands up and says, ‘No, I am not going to be part of this. I am not going to direct my Soldiers, my Sailors, Airmen, Marines, my Coastguardsmen…I’m not going to direct them to take something that they may be opposed to.’”
While the service chiefs did not lead the way to denounce the mandate, this may be an opportunity for them to realize the benefit to their actions had they indeed acted to serve the betterment of their troops and stood up for their rights instead of being a “yes-man” to the administration.
This story is still developing.