(UnitedVoice.com) – In August, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a mandatory vaccine order for the US Armed Forces. Later, the Pentagon made it clear that those who refused would face disciplinary action. A judge has now issued an injunction against the mandate for certain service members.
On Monday, January 3, US District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a ruling preventing the Pentagon from punishing a group of Navy SEALs who did not want to get the vaccination. The ruling came after 35 sailors sued the Navy and Austin to stop the mandate.
Judge O’Connor called the Navy’s process for approving religious exemptions “theater.” He explained the Armed Forces have written the process in a way that essentially ensures the requests are denied right away. He determined the service members have a First Amendment right to refuse the vaccine.
BREAKING: Federal judge just granted temporary injunction to group of Navy SEALS seeking religious exemption from vaccine mandate. Judge Reed O’Connor: “There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment. There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) January 3, 2022
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby spoke to reporters about the ruling on Tuesday. He said the military was reviewing the injunction and speaking to the Justice Department about their options moving forward. The Armed Forces have not ruled out the possibilty of appealing the judge’s decision. If the admin does, it’ll go to an appeals court and then, possibly, to the Supreme Court.
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